What Does That Have to Do With It?
Verse 27 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.’”
Yesterday we found Jesus being grilled by a religious lawyer. Today we continue with their discussion to set the scene that had Jesus presenting the parable we are delving into this week.
Today’s key verse is the lawyer’s answer to Jesus’ countering questions that we discussed yesterday. The lawyer may have been wondering why Jesus asked those questions and what they had to do with his original question about how to obtain eternal life but he knew he had his answer right. What he may not have been expecting was Jesus’ response. Instead of answering the man’s original question, Jesus tells him something that probably cut him to the core, “Do this and you will live.”
We know this didn’t sit well with the lawyer because of his follow-up question. “And who is my neighbor?” This question was to push Jesus. This man was wanting to justify his life and was sure that he had been living as he should, after all he knew the law better than most. But Jesus answer had shown him that from His perspective the lawyer was still missing something.
The Jews had no problem being nice to their neighbors. That was so ingrained in their culture that it was a way of life. But Jesus had more in mind than just the people that it was easy to be loving towards.
The same is required of us. We are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, strength, and mind. This isn’t always easy as we fight our inner wants and desires. The next part about loving our neighbor as ourselves can be tough for us too. In today’s world of busy lives we don’t always know our neighbors. Whether your neighbors are close enough to look through their windows in to the neighbor’s house on the other side of them or if we can’t even see them through the fields or woods, we are called to not just know them but to love them as ourselves. This can be easy when the neighbor is nice and kind to us but what about the neighbor who isn’t? What about the neighbor who lets their dog torment your chickens? Or the neighbor with the loud parties until all hours? Jesus knew this was not an issue for this lawyer alone. He knew we would struggle with this and so He told a parable to help us see what it means to love our neighbor.
Making It Personal
What kind of neighbors do you have? Are there ways you need to change your behavior towards your neighbor? What kind of neighbor would your neighbors say you are?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you have friends that live in your neighborhood? Do you like to play with them? Are you nice to them like Jesus wants you to be?
Father, thank You for placing us in communities. Teach us what it means to be the loving neighbors You want us to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.