Who Is My Neighbor?

A Jewish teacher of the law came to Jesus, to test him (121). “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to achieve new life that will continue in heaven forever, even after my physical death?”

Jesus answered him, “What do the inspired scriptures say? How do you interpret them?” The man answered, “‘Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, & with all your mind’.  Also, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'” “That’s right,” Jesus replied. “Do these things and you will have the new life you seek!”

But the teacher of the law pressed Jesus to break this down more precisely. “And who is my neighbor?” he asked.  Jesus answered him with this story:

“Once there was a Jewish man who was walking down from Jerusalem to Jericho.  On the way, robbers mugged him & left him lying half dead in the middle of the road.

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“Soon, a Jewish priest came along that road; he stayed over to the side & passed by the wounded man.

“Then another descendant of Levi came along; he even bent over & looked at the wounded man, but he also took off without doing anything to help.

“Finally a non-Jewish man from Samaria came along; when he saw the wounded man, his heart was filled with compassion for him.

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“He cleaned & bandaged the man’s wounds; then he put the man on his donkey & took him to an inn & continued to care for him all day.

“The next morning, he gave an advance payment to the innkeeper. ‘Please take care of him,’ he told the innkeeper, ‘and when I return, I’ll pay you whatever else you spend on his care.'”

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Jesus then asked, “In your opinion, which one of these three men was truly a neighbor to the wounded man?”  The teacher of the law answered, “The one who was kind to him.”

Jesus replied, “That’s right!  And in the same way, you must be kind to anyone who is near you, whatever their need.  Actually living what you’ve learned is the way to show your love for God.”

 

(121) Luke 10:25-37