Parables
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New Neighbors

[Jesus asked] “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?”
And he [the lawyer] said, “He that shewed mercy on him.”
Then said Jesus unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise.” ~ Luke 10:36-37

picture obtained from here.

picture obtained from here.

At the beginning of the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, a lawyer asked Jesus “Who is my neighbour?”. However, after relating the parable, rather than answering the lawyers question, Jesus asked the lawyer inverted the lawyer’s original question and tossed it back to him. Jesus’ inversion of the question gives us a key insight:

Lawyer: “Who is my neighbour?”
Jesus: “Which… was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?”

In the lawyer’s question, the focus is inward: “Who is MY neighbour?”. In Jesus’ question, the focus is outward: (paraphrasing) “Which… was neighbour UNTO him…?”

In other words, Jesus was trying to get the lawyer to see that the important question is not “Who is my neighbour?”. The important question is “Who am I neighbour to?”

Typically, we choose to be neighbours only to a select few: those who we feel comfortable with, those we admit to our circle of friends/family. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, however, Jesus points out that there are many people around us in need of our unconditional and sacrificial love. Will we choose to be their neighbours?? Or will we walk past them, ignoring them and their needs, as we head off to church???

“Who will you be neighbour to?”
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“Good fences make good neighbors, only if you want fences as your neighbors.” ~ RitW

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