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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1032. Who is my neighbour? (11/4/24)

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we are reflecting on The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Today we reflect on what it means to love our neighbour. 

‘But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.”’ (Luke 10:29-37)

Lesson: To behave like a good neighbour is to be like Christ and to serve our enemies. 


To listen to this devotional, go to:


Today, we want to get more practical. Having seen God’s love for us, we are to seek to imitate Jesus’ love in our lives by being good neighbours. The gospel has power to redeem us to God, and it also gives us the power to become like Christ who loves perfectly.  This parable teaches us to live and love like Christ. We are called to obey these two great commandments: 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

Today, let’s briefly consider how we are to love people, and tomorrow we’ll consider how we are to love God. 


Why does this man ask, “and who is my neighbour?” It seems that he asks this question in order to ‘justify himself’ - to justify his current practice of loving some and rejecting others. To this man, and to many of us, the word ’neighbour’ (plēsíon) means family, close friends, and those who are respectable. This religious leader knows that he is ‘neighbourly’ to friends, family and those who are respectable; however he knows that he’s scathing and rejecting of people who have a sinful past or who have a different belief system, such as the Samaritans. This man wants Jesus to ‘justify’ this kind of attitude so that he looks righteous before the people. However, Jesus reinterprets what ‘neighbour’ means to include loving people no matter what - for one to be a good neighbour, like this good Samaritan, one has to behave like Christ toward everyone! Jesus, far from justifying this man’s conduct, seeks to reveal and convict him of his sin of partiality. 


Paul reiterates this idea of how love for others fulfils God’s law:

‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.’ (Romans 13:8-10) 

God wants us to love others. He wants us to love those who are in and those who are outside of the church. He wants us to love those who respect us and those who disrespect and hate our teachings and values. Like the Samaritan in our parable we are to love outsiders; despite the great hatred between Jews and Samaritans, he chose to love this (I assume) Jewish man. Unlike the priest and Levite, whom those listening to Jesus tell this parable would have assumed to be the righteous ones, it’s the Samaritan who shows true love and has life. Likewise, despite disrespect and antipathy, we are to love, as Peter urges us:

‘Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’ (1 Peter 2:12) 

Response

To behave like a good neighbour is to be like Christ and to serve our enemies. This parable makes it clear that God’s people are not defined by natural birth - thus the priest and Levite; rather, one is shown to be a part of God’s people by how one acts, and, in particular, by how one loves others. As we go about our lives let’s be prayerful and moved with compassion so as to serve others with our time, talents and treasures. Like this Samaritan, are we taking the initiative to offer kindness to those who are easy and those who are difficult to love? 


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon The Parable of the Good Samaritan was entitled, 'Go and do Likewise'. Jesus uses this parable to show us how Christians are to live in order to please God, serve Him and become effective in reaching this world with the gospel.  


Please read Luke 10:25-37, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What does the man’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” and the phrase, ‘he wanted to justify himself’,  reveal about his approach to religion? 

  • How do we see Jesus and the gospel in this story? 

  • How is this parable designed to humble us before we seek to apply it? 

  • How are we to live in response to this parable? 

  • SIV - What does this parable teach about SIV (Serve, Invest and inVite)?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s came out of our time in God’s Word.

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