Welcome to Who Is My Neighbor chapter of Christ’s Object Lessons ebook.
- Our neighbor isn’t merely one of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction
- Christ died once and for all
A doctor of the law stood up, and tempted Christ, saying:
Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Luke 10:25
Jesus required the answer from him saying:
What is written in the law? how readest thou? Luke 10:26
The lawyer said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. Luke 10:27. Thou hast answered right, Christ said, this do, and thou shalt live. Luke 10:28
Christ desired to lead the lawyer to a critical research that he might find the truth. Only by accepting the virtue and grace of Christ we can keep the law. Belief in the propitiation for sin enables fallen humans to love God with their whole heart and their neighbor as themselves.
The lawyer knew that he had kept neither the first four nor the last six commandments. Instead of confessing his sin he tried to excuse it and show how difficult the fulfillment of the commandment is. He put another question, saying: Who is my neighbor? Luke 10:29.
The parable of the good Samaritan
Jesus answered the question with an incident, the memory of which was fresh in the minds of His hearers.
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Luke 10:30
A priest came that way. He saw the man lying wounded, but he left him without rendering any assistance. He “passed by on the other side.” The same did the Levite. With gentleness and kindness only Samaritan ministered to the wounded man.
When he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast; brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Luke 10:33-35
Christ showed His hearers that they had neglected to carry out the principles of the law of God. The lawyer found in the lesson nothing that he could criticize. But he had not overcome his national dislike sufficiently to give credit to the Samaritan by name. When Christ asked, Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? he answered, He that showed mercy on him. Luke 10:36, 37.
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself
The Samaritan had fulfilled this command. Though, risking his own life, he had treated the wounded man as his brother. This Samaritan represents Christ. When we were bruised and dying, He:
- had pity on us
- didn’t leave us helpless and hopeless to perish, passing us by on the other side
- undertook our case and identified His interests with those of humanity
- prayed for His murderers and died to save His enemies.
Pointing to His own example, Jesus says to His followers: These things I command you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 15:17; John 13:34.
Love is the basis of godliness
No one has pure love to God unless he or she has unselfish love for their brother. But we can never come into possession of this spirit by trying to love others. What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart. When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within.
If we love God because He first loved us, we shall love all for whom Christ died. We cannot come in touch with divinity without coming in touch with humanity. For in Him who sits upon the throne of the universe, divinity and humanity are combined. Connected with Christ, we are connected with our fellow men by the golden links of the chain of love. Then the pity and compassion of Christ will be manifest in our life. We shall not wait to have the needy and unfortunate brought to us. It will be as natural for us to minister to the needy and suffering as it was for Christ to go about doing good.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:13
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