“And who is my neighbor?”
This was the question put to Jesus by an expert in religious law. His question was prompted by Jesus’ answer to the man’s first question: “What must I do to gain eternal life?”
This was really a question, Luke tells us, that was intended to test Jesus. Jesus didn’t answer, but asked another question, putting the ball back in the man’s court: “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”
And the man then quoted the scripture: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus responded, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”
But that still wasn’t enough to answer the legal expert’s question. And he still wanted to be right. So he pressed on, trying to define more exactly what this means. I think he’s saying, in effect — as any of us might — OK, if I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself, I need to know who my neighbor is.
This is a personal question for each of us to consider, but it is more than that. It is a question for us as a church and we’ll explore it on Sunday. Who is our neighbor? Do we know the answer to this question? I look forward to considering this question and its implications with you on Sunday as we continue our “Heart of the City” worship series.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic — be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. Bless people who harass you — bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.
A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?” He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”