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My Neighbor

My Neighbor

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re coming to a familiar parable of Jesus. You may want to read Luke 10:25-37 before reading this post.

In this section of Scripture, we see an expert in the Law approaching the Lord with some questions. His goal was probably to test Jesus, to find a basis for accusation against Him.

His first question was a simple one. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” At that point, under the Old Covenant, Jesus answered with a question of His own.

“What is written in the Law?” he [Jesus] replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered: “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Luke 10:26-27 NIV

This expert in the Law gave the expected answer. This is what was commonly accepted as the summation of all the Law and the prophets. However, this lawyer couldn’t just stop there.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:28-29 NIV

Here’s where it starts to get interesting. You usually don’t feel the need to justify yourself unless you’re feeling guilty about something. In talking with Jesus, there must have been some conviction about how he had treated people in the past. He wanted to clarify that he was okay.

According to Old Testament thinking, a neighbor was a fellow countryman. Any Jewish person would qualify. Someone who was not a Jew would not be treated as a neighbor in terms of the Scripture.

Jesus went on to tell this man a parable. Someone was on a trip and was attacked by bandits along the road. He was robbed, beaten, and left for dead.

Soon, a priest came by that way. But, he ignored the man in need. A Levite also came by, but ignored him as well. These were both men who knew the Law and would have given Jesus the same answer to His question.

Then, a Samaritan came along the same road. These people were considered outsiders by the Jews. They had no dealings with each other and made sure that they kept their distance.

But, when the Samaritan saw the man in need, it didn’t matter to him whether or not the man was a Jew. He stopped and helped. He treated the man’s wounds and carried him on his donkey.

He was then taken to an inn where he could stay for the night. In the morning, the Samaritan prepaid so that the injured man could stay long enough to heal. He also promised that if there were any further expenses, he would come back and cover them.

Now it was time for the most important question.

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

Luke 10:36 NIV

In the literal Greek, Jesus asks, “Which of these three became a neighbor to the man…?” The two who were neighbors according to Jewish tradition, failed to help. The one who was not expected to help, did what was needed even though he was not a fellow countryman.

The answer was clear.

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:37 NIV

Who is my neighbor? It’s anyone that I have opportunity and ability to help. It’s not necessarily someone who lives next door. It could be anyone I meet during my day.

That’s why I need to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. He can show me who to bring a blessing to. Then, as a result, I’ll reap a blessing from what I’ve planted in someone’s life.

Question: How have you been a neighbor lately?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

We’re continuing through the book of Romans, looking at the walk of maturity.

Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:13

The first half of this verse has an interesting construction. It actually reads; as to the needs of the saints, sharing.

Think about it. Needs – we all have them. When we talk about meeting peoples needs, our first thoughts usually go toward money. There are plenty of places in Scripture that talk about financial needs. But, this verse is talking about more than that.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

We must be prepared to give more than just money. What about a word of grace from our lips? There are many people who could use that word of encouragement.

What about those who are in need of healing? There are also many who need fellowship, guidance, or one of many other kinds of help we could give.

So, what do we do when we see the needs of others in the body of Christ? The Greek word used in this verse for sharing is koinonia. It literally means to be in partnership.

I’ve found that, in this generation, we really don’t understand what partnership is all about. It’s the realization that we all have a part to play in each others lives. It’s a very powerful part of our Christian relationships.

I believe that it’s a perception problem. Sometimes we simply view church as a place where we meet together. Instead, we should understand that it’s an organism that we’re a part of. It’s about more than just our stuff. It’s sharing who we are.

The church of the Philippians is a great example of this.

Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;

Philippians 4:15

Paul commended them for their partnership in the Gospel. They were a blessing to Paul and helped to reach those in other parts of the world. But, they also received a blessing.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Most don’t realize that this is specifically a promise for partners. We are partners in the work that God is doing. It’s like the flow of blood in the human body. That’s how blessings flow through the body of Christ.

Then, along with this, we’re told to practice hospitality. The verse literally says to pursue the love of strangers. That means love those who are very different from you. This is not the only place we’re told to do this.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:9-10

It’s a way of giving out God’s grace to others. Why are we having church, if we’re not practicing hospitality? Of course, this also comes with a blessing.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

The fact is that we don’t always know everything that’s going on in the spirit. It won’t be until we’re in God’s presence when we find out all of the effects that our partnership and hospitality had on the world.

Question: How have you practiced these qualities recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2021 in Ministry, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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