June 15, 2014
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor

Luke 10:25-37

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.” (Luke 10:33)

This story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, raises questions:
Who is my neighbor? If my neighbor is someone who needs help/mercy, then who am I overlooking/excluding that God wants me to help?
How should I treat my neighbor? How do I do this? How do I move from intellectual curiosity to action?

A. How should I treat my neighbor?

A Jewish lawyer is asking Jesus how to attain eternal life, and the parable of the Good Samaritan answers it in Luke 10:27: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
1. Do not mistreat your neighbors or be harmful in any way.
2. Help them if specific needs, e.g.: orphans, widows, strangers.
3. Love them by doing what is really good for them. We might need to have hard but necessary conversations.

B. Who is my neighbor?

This is actually the main question of the parable (Luke 10:29).
The most despised person, the Samaritan, is the one who answers the need of his neighbor. The priest and Levite do not want to be responsible for the their neighbor beaten by robbers in the story. This “neighbor” could be a much broader category than we think. Just possibly, there is no such thing as a non-neighbor when God puts someone in our path.

C. How do we do this?

In reality, it is impossible to love others as ourselves, which is God’s standard. This parable is meant to drive us in our failure, to Jesus. However, Jesus does not call us to guilt, but provides His Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ living in us) to help us love and forgive others. We are called to prayerfully listen and obey the Holy Spirit, showing us who our neighbor is and enabling us to action. Loving our neighbor can indeed be a spiritual risk, which requires the superhuman direction and power of the Spirit of God.