A lawyer tests Jesus. Someone who studies the law is testing The Word. The lawyer knows the right answer, but the problem is that 1.) He thinks he can achieve eternal life by works, and 2.) He is trying to do the bare minimum of pleasing God (“Who is my neighbor?”). We cannot do anything to achieve eternal life. Christ has done that for us! Nevertheless, Jesus has a lesson for us concerning love for our neighbor.
How do I love my neighbor? Four points from Jesus’ teaching on the Good Samaritan.
1. Choose neighbor love over religious “work”
The priest that passed up the half dead guy in the ditch was probably worried about his schedule, responsibilities, and remaining clean. The priest cared more of procedures than people, rituals more than relationships. Don’t get so caught up in your duties that you neglect those in need around you.
2. Choose neighbor love over ethnicity
The Jews and Samaritans were from the same line of Jacob. They were family! Just like ALL of the human race, we are one species with multiple colors, backgrounds, and cultures. Christians should be the least racists people on the planet, because God created all equal and loves all equal, and desires that all should come to the knowledge of Him. Racism is taught, so allow Jesus to reprogram your mind to love and help all people.
3. Choose neighbor love over comfort
Look at how the Samaritan sacrificed:
- Financially (bandages, oil and wine, putting him up at the inn)
- Time (went out of his way to help)
- Physically (put the man on his donkey and walked)
Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”
4. Follow through/continue with neighbor love
The Samaritan didn’t just pay a fee. This wasn’t a one-time effort, but he says “I’m coming back.” He gives the innkeeper a blank check to make sure the man was cared for, and promises to return and repay.
Jesus says, “Go, and do likewise.”
1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”