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Faithlife

Won't you be my neighbor

Just saying: The parables of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Good Samaratin

Notes & Transcripts
We all remember the song made famous by the late Fred Rogers, as he was changing his sweater and shoes, I remember as a kid in fact we used to sit and sing it as a joke saying that random strangers were our neighbors, and laughing over how ridiculous that idea was. Little did any of us know that Mr. Rogers was tackling an enormous spiritual issue, relationship. How we interact, is more important. That is a question we often ask, who does God really want me to love and why, today we will endeavor to answer that. Jesus is going to define neighbor and show us that we need to love and have compassion and mercy as we live our lives. is the text let's get into it.

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

prelude

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[a] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[b]
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
I love that today.s passage has a bit of a lead in because often with Jesus we need one as well. Looking out our lives it is usually not what we present on the surface that God wants to deal with. Let’s go deeper. We also see here that the question that is asked is incredible. Now keep in mind this was one of the scribes the men who knew the law better than any others that asked simply, “how do I inherit eternal life?” That is a question we must all seek an answer to, and that is what Jesus asks him. You are a student and teacher of the law what does it say? God wants us to find the answers. I love when God speaks this way to us, He so much wants us to understand His Word that He will help us break it down. That is how Jesus saw it. The answer? Of course the Shemah from ! We see that quoted so often but it seems like the context can be different or a piece could be missing. Truthfully we cannot do the neighbor part until we love God unconditionally but this lawyer seems to think he is ready to tackle the second half there. Do this and you will live that is the instruction of Christ. Simple right! So often we want to know from God how we can live an abundant fruitful life in the power and Spirit of God, this is it. Love Him, and love others. As believers we say that all the time but are we really prepared to love? That sincere, genuine, type of love. How can we establish that ? At one level today Jesus will address that very thing and we will get to see the hurdles that we have to love. Let’s pray! It is important for us to see today the role that love plays in not only our walk with Christ but in our day to day relationships as well. 

Problem

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him,and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
Even though the scribe knew that Jesus was on to something, he pressed on wanting to justify himself. To be right is often why we enter discussion but as Jesus will show there is more to it than that. But I'm right! Look at the question that is asked here though, who is my neighbor? Think about loving our neighbors do we define it as someone in close proximity in beliefs. I only have Christian friends. Or do we define it as a geographic location either way we are probably dropping the ball on modeling that love for neighbor that Christ calls us to. In order to really answer this Jesus uses another parable. This time of a man beaten and left for dead taken in by the kindness of strangers. So this parable begins with the traveler going from Jerusalem to Jericho it was a journey of about 19 miles and everyone in that clture knew to not travel alone. The road was called the "bloody way" and was a known hub for thieves and robbers. This being said the man travelling alone was important, and is for us today. Don't go alone. On his journey he falls to some robbers that beat him strip him and leave him for dead on the side of the road. While he is lying there a priest comes by and crosses the street to avoid dealing with the man. Is that us? Do we eevr seek to avoid broken people who need to be helped? Otherside of the street. The same happened when the Levite passed by, that societies version of a social worker. When the two men who should have helped failed in the story As Jesus continues He says the unthinkable, the next person to come by was a Samaritan. Widely regarded as the enemies of the Jews there was actually a law on the books that Jews and Samaritans could not speak in public or they would lose their rights in the temple. Unclean that is a lot. That is when the unthinkable happens the Samaritan helps the guy he dresses his wounds he takes him to an inn and when he leaves he makes sure his needs are provided for. 
That brings up an interesting picture for us that Jesus is the Samaritan, He is the one that begins to heal people in our lives, then He leaves them in our care and gives us everything that we need to care for them until He returns. Am I caring for my brother? That really is the issue here like the lawyer we are often asking questions to see what Jesus expects, and really if there is a way to avoid helping. These men would not have helped a Samaritan. Simply because of who he was that is the point. Are we willing to help those beaten and in need? What if God entrusts them to me? Do I see them as my neighbor? Whom I should love! That is the point our neighbor in God' s eye is anyone that needs us. 
One final thing before we move on notice that the Samaritan, had compassion on the man, that is to say that he had sympathy for his condition and his future. In order to love those in need like Jesus would have us, we must have compassion, we have to be sincere. See me! Especially when someone is broken it is important to give them compassion. 

The point

36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Jesus asks finally, who is this man's neighbor? The lawyer rightly answers the man who showed him mercy? I know what you are thinking, "I only have to love those that I show mercy to, sweet I'm off the hook." No mercy. The truth is that Jesus wants us to see everyone as a neighbor and meet needs as we are able. Needs. This does not mean that we must set up and help every need that we come across, but if there is injustice, we see plainly we must do what we can. Also it is important to note that if we see someone on the healing path we must not jump them and hurt them again. Healing is important.Jesus said we are to go and do the same, that is to live with compassion and mercy, to interact with others in that way, that is the hope of relationship. That element of our faith is so neglected, yet it should be most important. Love God and you will love others! Let's be innkeepers following the example of the Samaritan.
Let's pray!
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