But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”Luke 10:29 NIV
In this passage, Jesus had been asked by a Jewish scholar about what a person must do to inherit eternal life. But Jesus turned the question back to him, asking him what he thought. His response was what Jesus elsewhere identified as the two greatest commandments. First, to love God with all that you are. Secondly, to love your neighbor as yourself. In response, Jesus challenged the man to actually live like that.
Who Is My Neighbor?
But he clearly felt some guilt here and sought to justify his own life by asking Jesus to define what was meant by neighbor. Is it limited to one who lives nearby? Does it include your peers? Or, does it have a broader application? I believe it is safe to assume that this “expert in the law” would have been comfortable with a narrow interpretation of who his neighbor was. But Jesus responded to him with the parable of the Good Samaritan. And in it, he removed any thought of limiting a neighbor to those living nearby, or to my friends.
Jesus’ definition of who constituted my neighbor was essentially everyone I encounter. When I turn my back on someone with a need, a need that I can help with, then I have failed to love my neighbor.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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