But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Who is My Neighbor
People don’t want to believe they need to be rescued by God. In fact, they will go to great lengths to prove they are good enough for God.
This was the case for a certain religious expert in Jesus’ day. Luke tells us that the man, “… wanted to justify himself.” He wanted to prove that he really wasn’t that bad, that he deserved to be in a right relationship with God. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)
In other words, he thought he had lived a good enough life. But just to be sure, he asked Jesus to specify who his neighbor was. So, Jesus launched into the story of the Good Samaritan. The story is about a Jewish man who fell into the hands of robbers while traveling. He was beaten and left nearly dead. Two Jewish men walked by without stopping to help. But a Samaritan man stopped and saved him.
Jesus concluded the story by asking: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Luke 10:36)
Jesus knew the Jewish man who had come to question him would not have had anything to do with a Samaritan. Jewish people in Jesus’ day despised people from Samaria. Jesus wanted the man to understand that he had not kept God’s laws as well as he thought. Jesus knew that only then would he know that he needed Jesus to save him from his sins.
We need the same reminder. When we get on our spiritual high horse and think that we are good enough for God, we need the Bible to remind us of our sins so that we look to Jesus forgiveness. Thankfully, when we do, he assures us that his perfect life and innocent death earned forgiveness for us.
And, when we wonder how we could ever thank him for such a gift, he tells us to thank him by loving our neighbor—being concerned about and caring for those around us. Look around today. Whom has God brought into your life? That’s your neighbor. Love and serve them. When you do you will be saying, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Lord, help me to love those you bring into my life today. Amen.