25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
27 And he answered, “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.”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,
34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’
36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”
37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
We live in a time when viral videos are commonplace. No one has quite identified what exactly gives a video the potential to go viral. The range of videos that go viral is wide—from funny, to touching, to awe-inspiring. While it is not exactly clear what makes a video go viral, there seem to be some common themes. One such theme is that of individuals showing uncommon kindness to another. This seems to be especially true if the video is of a stranger showing an act of kindness to another stranger, whom they seemingly have no obligation to care for.
In Luke 10, Jesus was met with the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The man who asked this question placed it within a larger conversation regarding eternal life. In essence, the man was asking, “What do I have to do to receive eternal life, and what do I not have to do?” In regard to neighbor, it is likely that the man was asking Jesus to clarify who he was free to disregard in daily life.
We may be tempted to do the same. It is easy to give our time and attention to those who are easy to love or have the ability to pay us back for the good we do for them. This is a comfortable place to live in. However, in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, He gave a very uncomfortable answer to the question that was raised. In short, His answer was that our neighbor is anyone who is made in the image of God, which includes all people.
This should press us to consider those in our community who are in need of our help, but may have no ability to return the favor. After all, as followers of Christ, He has met our greatest need that we have no hope of ever repaying. In light of this, we are to go and love others in the same way that He has loved us, without condition.
• Who in your community have you often overlooked or failed to consider as “your neighbor”? How do you need to respond in light of this passage?
• How might you share the story of the Good Samaritan to tell someone how Christ loved you when you were most in need?
• Pray and thank God for sending Jesus to meet our ultimate need when we had no hope of helping ourselves. Ask Him to reveal the people He is calling you to love in your community.