Summary: Who is your neighbor? Who does Jesus say is your neighbor? Which character in Jesus’ parable do you most resemble?
Just Passing By
(Ray Scott, SC.com) Can you name some famous neighbors? (Mr. Rogers)
•Dennis the Menace’s neighbor - “Helloooo Mr. Wilson!”
•Ricky & Lucy Ricardo’s neighbors - Fred & Ethel Mertz.
•Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor’s neighbor - Wilson.
•Ray & Debra Barone neighbors – his parents (Frank & Marie)
Can you name your own neighbors? Are they good neighbors or bad? Are you?
Please turn with me to Lk. 10:25-37. This is the story of the Good Samaritan.
•It’s a story of being a good neighbor.
In our Easter series, we looked at our own encounter with Christ and whether that encounter changed our lives.
•Today, we’re going to see a practical answer to that question.
•Today, we’re going to look at not just knowing our neighbors, but being a neighbor.
25ON ONE OCCASION AN EXPERT IN THE LAW (lawyer) STOOD UP TO TEST JESUS. “TEACHER,” HE ASKED, “WHAT MUST I DO TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE?”
Remember, this lawyer was there to test Jesus, not to ask a legitimate question.
26“WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THE LAW?” HE REPLIED. “HOW DO YOU READ IT?”
Jesus knows exactly what the lawyer is trying to do.
27HE 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.’”
It’s interesting that in Mt. 22:35-40, Jesus answered another lawyer the same way.
28“YOU HAVE ANSWERED CORRECTLY,” JESUS REPLIED. “DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”
Hold it. Is He saying we need to “do” something in order to have eternal life? Yes and no.
•Acts 16:31 says to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
•Eph. 2:8-9 says it is by grace thru faith, and not of works, that we are saved.
•But to truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ means that we also love Him with all our being. It means we put our faith into action.
Jas. 2:17 says, IN THE SAME WAY, FAITH BY ITSELF, IF IT IS NOT ACCOMPANIED BY ACTION, IS DEAD.
That’s exactly what Jesus’ point is here in this parable.
29BUT HE WANTED TO JUSTIFY HIMSELF, SO HE ASKED JESUS, “AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?”
Remember, a lawyer’s job is to “interpret” the law in such a way as to benefit his client.
•In this case, the client is himself. And he was looking for a loophole.
Jesus, in response, tells him a parable that hits him square between the eyes.
•And it hits us the same way.
In this parable, I want to look at 5 different characters.
•As we look at them, think of which one best relates to you.
30IN REPLY JESUS SAID: “A MAN WAS GOING DOWN FROM JERUSALEM TO JERICHO, WHEN HE FELL INTO THE HANDS OF ROBBERS. THEY STRIPPED HIM OF HIS CLOTHES, BEAT HIM AND WENT AWAY, LEAVING HIM HALF DEAD.
Even though this was a parable, it was a very believable and relatable story.
(BKC) “The road from Jerusalem to Jericho descends about 3,000 feet in about 17 miles.”
•It was very dangerous as robbers could easily hide along its steep, winding way.
•Apparently, this man, probably a Jew, became their next victim.
And then we come to our first character.
I. THE CALLOUS COUNTERFEIT
31A PRIEST HAPPENED TO BE GOING DOWN THE SAME ROAD, AND WHEN HE SAW THE MAN, HE PASSED BY ON THE OTHER SIDE.
A priest was the epitome of religion in Judea. He served at God’s altar.
He, of all people, should care for those in need, especially if it’s a Jew.
•But maybe stopping to help would cause him to become “unclean”.
•Maybe the robbers might come back and get him, too.
Whatever his excuse, this priest deliberately avoids him and walks by on the other side.
This counterfeit priest was holy on the outside, but corrupt on the inside.
He could care less about someone else in need. He was a callous counterfeit.
I wonder if we’ve ever been guilty of the same crime.
How many times have we heard/seen the plight of others and made up excuses why we couldn’t help?
•Maybe it was someone in need of food, money, shelter, comfort, encouragement.
•Maybe it was missionaries needing support.
•But we were too busy, too self-conscious, too tight with our own blessings.
Recent surveys have found that unbelievers in America actually give more to the needy than professing believers do!
•And yet, we’re the “priests”, the religious people, the first ones who should help.
How many times have we acted just like that callous counterfeit?
But Jesus doesn’t stop there.
II. THE CURIOUS CROWD
32SO TOO, A LEVITE, WHEN HE CAME TO THE PLACE AND SAW HIM, PASSED BY ON THE OTHER SIDE.