Who is My Neighbor?

By Hal Lindsey
The parable of the good Samaritan stands as one of history’s best-known stories. It has been the subject of countless books, sermons, Bible studies, and Sunday School classes. The story addresses grace, racism, redemption, and care. Only Jesus could pack such a brief story with so many insights and so much truth. What people tend to forget is that Jesus told the story as an answer to a question. 
You can read it in Luke 10:25-37. A lawyer decided to test Jesus. He asked, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Instead of answering directly, Jesus turned the question back on the lawyer. “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” The lawyer 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.”
In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus Himself called these the great commandments. He said, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” So, the lawyer was right. To earn eternal life, one must follow these two commands perfectly. To the lawyer, Jesus said, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But the lawyer was smart enough to see the problem. He did not love his neighbor the way he loved himself — hardly at all, much less consistently. In the history of the world, only Jesus completely fulfilled these two commandments. The rest of us repeatedly fail. But, as lawyers do, this one searched for a loophole. He asked, “And who is my neighbor?”
That’s when Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan. He talked about a man who fell among thieves. They stripped him of his clothes, robbed him, beat him, and left him dying on the side of the road. Two different religious leaders avoided the wounded man. But a member of a despised race — a Samaritan — “saw him… felt compassion, 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. And 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.’”
Jesus then asked the lawyer, “‘Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?’ And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do the same.’”
Don’t try to limit the people you have to love. Go and be a good neighbor to all. Love everyone as you love yourself. Even those who despise themselves, give themselves food when they are hungry and shelter when they are cold. Love everyone like that. Jesus left no loophole. As He did throughout the Gospels, Jesus showed that we are sinners and need a Savior.
In Matthew 19:25-26, the Lord’s disciples heard Him talk about what it takes to enter the Kingdom of heaven, and it sounded impossible. They asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus answered, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Inheriting eternal live takes a miracle from God. In John 11:25-26, Jesus said, “He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Believing on Jesus activates the miracle described in 2 Corinthians 5:21. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He took our sins on Himself, died for them, and transferred to us His own perfect righteousness.
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