Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Be the One
A friend remarked, “You have a Mr. Roger’s way about you.” What a sweet thing to say. But what does that mean? He invited everyone to be his neighbor. I find that interesting. He was a man of deep faith. He didn’t come out and say it but I’m guessing he was living out the second greatest commandment; love your neighbor.
Just like the expert in the law in Luke 10:29, I asked Jesus “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus clearly answers this in The Parable of the Good Samaritan. A good neighbor is the “one who had mercy on him.” Luke 10:37 Simple right?
We are to do as Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37
The history of Israel’s relationship with Samaria was well known. The Hebrew people were to keep separate from the Samaritans. Yet, Jesus was encouraging them to do the opposite. We see examples of the call for separation throughout the Old Testament. Have you noticed that God broke that? Look at the line of Jesus. There we find Rahab from Jericho and Ruth from Moab. What God saw was the heart of these women, not their birthplace. The same is true for the Samaritan in Luke 10.
I find it fascinating that the verses just prior to this is the sending of the seventy-two. It almost seems to contradict the Good Samaritan. In these verses Jesus says “But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.” Luke 10:10-12 But look closer. Who has the power to reject? Who made the decision to accept neighborly love? It is the town, not the seventy-two.
When others refuse our extension of kindness, it is on them. When others reject the Gospel, it is on them. Our job is to continue to extend ourselves, in the name of Jesus, to others. We don’t get to decide who is good enough to be our neighbors. Those receiving our love get to decide. It is humbling. It is risky. It is out of our control. It is not up to us. We are simply to ask “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Thank you Jesus, that YOU give us the power to love all people.
Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT) “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”