Lenten Bible Study – Day 24

Tuesday, March 16, 2021- Day 24
 
Luke 17:7-10
30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[k] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
 
You have to love a parable you have probably heard a lot of times. The “good Samaritan” is a parable that has been looked at from many different lenses and angles. Today I would like to look at the initial purpose of the parable. The question that leads to this parable is in verse 29 and it says, “who is my neighbor”? When you read the Bible, you will see Jesus telling you to love 2 different groups of people. He tells us to love or neighbors and our enemies! We know who our enemies are (note I’m am writing this after my beloved Flyers lost to the penguins). We are told to love our enemies, it is hard, but we can identify them. However, Jesus also calls us to love our neighbors, so who are they?
 
Jesus gives us a parable in which 2 of the people you would expect to help and who were technically neighbors (countrymen) walk by the man. The third man stops and goes out of his way to help the man in every way possible. While many people see this as extreme (loving a foreigner) it should not have been. Numerous times in the old testament scripture God tells his people to care for foreigners. This was not a radical new calling, rather it was something people really struggled doing. What Jesus was trying to convey to them is that everyone is your neighbor because all people belong to God. What Jesus was also showing them is that being a neighbor is in your actions, not in your location. We aren’t called to help the people closest to us, we are called to help all people. 
 
The best example I can think of when it comes to being a neighbor is mother Theresa. This amazing woman was born in Macedonia, yet she spent a life time loving her neighbors in India (over 3,000 miles away). The children in India recognized her as one of their own, not because she was born there, but because she loved them. The answer to “who is my neighbor” is simple, it is everyone. Loving foreigners when Jesus gave this parable was not new, there were commandments to care for the foreigner in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Malachi, Exodus, Ezekiel, and many other books. Yet, the people still asked, “who is my neighbor”? Jesus reinforced who our neighbor is and let us know how to care for them. Will we truly understand this, or we will we still be found asking “who is my Neighbor”?    
 
Prayer:
Lord give us strength to love our neighbor. Let us see everyone as our neighbor, whether they live in our country or another country. Give us wisdom and power to take actions to love foreigners, fully recognizing they are neighbors. Amen.