‘“You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” … But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”’ (Luke 10:27, 29)
Today’s Scripture portion is about a question arising from Jesus’ command to love our neighbor. The text explicitly says that the questioner asks this to justify himself, but the same question can arise in us if we honestly want to obey God’s commandment: Whom should I love? Who is my neighbor?
The parable that Jesus tells in response, makes clear that our ‘neighbor’ is not limited to the person living next door, or
to our family members and friends.
In the parable, somebody is robbed and left half dead. Respectable people passing by don’t help him. But then a Samaritan comes near. He is a foreigner, belonging to a people group utterly despised by Jews. He is not expected to help at all. But he has compassion! He helps the robbed man and provides for all his needs.
That is exactly what Jesus calls ‘loving your neighbor’. We should not just care for people we like and have close relationships with, but for everybody in need who crosses our path. We should not just love the people we like best, but everybody around us who needs help. That’s a huge challenge! Ask for God’s help and guidance as you try to obey this command.
Do you love your neighbor?