“He wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” - Luke 10:29
An expert in the law wanted to cover every detail to justify himself. He wanted to be sure he could inherit eternal life. He knew he had to love God first and to love his neighbor as himself. But now he had one more question for Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?”
The legal expert asked the right person, because someday Jesus will judge everyone according to the way they have served others for his sake (Matthew 25:31-46). And, as we learn from Ephesians 2:8-10, being saved by God’s grace motivates us to do good and show God’s love to others.
Jesus responded with a parable about a man who gets beaten and left by the roadside. Two travelers—a priest and a Levite—do not have the time or the inclination to help the beaten man, so they pass by. But a Samaritan, whom most Jewish people would avoid (John 4:9), stops to help without questions or conditions.
The legal expert got the point. And Jesus pressed the point home: “Go and do likewise.” Would the man’s faith now move him to be a good neighbor?
Who are our neighbors? Are there limits on our love? “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). How can we be good neighbors in Jesus’ name?