Like A Good Neighbor
- Like a good neighbor...State Farm is there. That's a slogan that my father put to the test. He called them when searching for insurance and shared what he expected out of a neighbor. They complied. Unfortunately, we don't get to go around telling people what we expect from them. But Jesus teaches us something about neighborliness when he gives us today's parable.
- We've now moved into the later Judean ministry of Jesus. His lessons are getting more impactful, challenging people more. Today's parable should be a challenge to us as well.
- Read text Luke 10:25-28
- Context: A lawyer stands up and tests Jesus with the question - "what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
- Isn't it amazing how this question just simply wants the easiest answer on how to take care of ourselves. What's the minimum I can do to take care of myself?
- Jesus beautifully puts the question into perspective.
- You know the commandments, follow them and your golden.
- In a moment of pure humanity the lawyer shows his true colors and in doing I feel reflects a little of us sometimes - "who is my neighbor"? In other words, he knew in his heart that there were some people he would have nothing to do with (social, political, financial, etc) so I need to know "who is my neighbor?" He wanted to justify himself
- Bad question to ask, cause I don't think he's gonna like the answer. We too balk at the answer sometimes when we realize just the extent that God has called us to in this relationship. But being a good neighbor has to be at the core of who we are, if it's not, we could be in some trouble.
- So Jesus gives this parable. Read text Luke 10:29-37. Let's unpack this parable. First, too much allegorical analysis has gone on with this passage. It's not that difficult, there isn't a spiritual compnent to every word. The message is really pinpointededly and painfully simple.
Your level of neighborliness is determined in the "thick of things" (v. 30)
- What is our idea of a good neighbor?
- one who keeps quiet, one who never borrows our stuff and keeps their lawn mowed?
- This man was left half-dead.
- The level of situational thickness is a determining factor in our willingness to be a neighbor.
- My father uses State Farm Insurance because he told them, "i'm willing to pay more for my insurance, but if anything ever happens, I want to know you'll be right there." They have been a good neighbor.
- Let's think about situations today - many people are walking around half-dead right? I mean they are breathing so they are half alive, but they don't know Christ so they are also half-dead. That's the thick situation in which we need to find ourselves being a neighbor.
Your Social Situation or Pedigree Doesn't Make You a Good Neighbor (vv. 31-33)
- This is truly the sad part of the story. Think about neighborhoods. We tend to be selective about neighborhoods don't we? We build houses at a certain price so that only certain income levels can live there. If you say you are from a certain neighborhood people will go "aahhhh" or "ugghhh".
- That may be necessary when it comes to our dwelling places, but notice this story has nothing to do with where you dwell. It points more to social status and look at what happens.
- A priest and a Levite walk by without batting an eye. They don't just "not help" but they go out of their way not to help!
- These two people were religious representatives. So are you. How often do you walk on the other side of the street to avoid being a neighbor?
- The one who stopped was a Samaritan. I think by now you have all been exposed to the social differences between the Jewish people and the Samaritan's. They didn't gel. Samaritan's were "half-Jewish, half-not". Jewish people didn't like this. But it was the Samaritan who stopped and helped out.
- Bump this passage up to Jesus word's in Matthew 5:43-48.
Neighborliness is Defined Not Only By Whom You Help, But Also To The Extent You Will Go (vv. 34-35)
- It did not stop with him saying, "are you okay?" He took him to a safe place, made sure his provisions were met, and said he would be back to meet more.
- Like a good neighbor...
- Let's apply this point. If people are walking around half-dead, are we just going to go up and say, are you okay? Or are we going to make sure they have every opportunity to be healed through Jesus Christ?
- Jesus then turns and asks his own question - who do you think was a neighbor? But what was the original question - what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
- Jesus is teaching us something very important. Quit looking to what you can "do" to inherit eternal life, and start looking to who you can "be". Then the focus goes from our own salvation to spreading mercy. This naturally flows from a right relationship with the Lord. We show mercy because we've been shown mercy.