“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37
Listen: Luke 10
An expert comes to Jesus trying to show how he was good and smart. This guy knew he was supposed to love his neighbor. He wanted to make himself look good, so he asks Jesus, “who is his neighbor?” Jesus answers with a story.
One day a guy gets mugged and is left bloody and unconscious on the side of the road. Two well-regarded people walk by and ignore him because they have important things to do. A third guy walks up. This guy isn’t just any person—he is from a despised racial group, a member of a belittled religion and from a place no one wanted to visit. The type of person no one listening to Jesus’ story would even consider hanging with. This third man stops, helps the mugged man, takes him to a place to stay and covers all his expenses. Jesus tells him that is your neighbor. As Senior Pastor Jeff Manion reminded us this weekend—your neighbor may be someone you have little or nothing in common with.
Jesus’ statement about who we should love dramatically changed the first-century world. It should also change ours. Jesus came to show love to anyone who would receive it. God generously lavished his grace on us through the person of Jesus. Shown through his sacrifice for us—people alienated from God—Jesus’ love should motivate us to love others. It should motivate whole life generosity to those around us —including strangers. It isn’t easy, but it is what Jesus did for us.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Decide how you can build a fire for those who wash up on the shore of your life. The people of Malta built a fire to warm the shipwrecked. Lydia invited Paul and his companions to stay with her. The guy in Jesus’ story rescues a man who hated him. In your journal, write the following statement, “I build a fire by _____________.” Try to come up with five or more ways you can build a fire for those people who have washed up on the shore of your life.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.