JESUS' GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY
One day a man who wa-s an expert in- thp law of Moses asked our Lord,.
c1haster, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said, in effect,
"You are an expert in the Old Testament law, what does it say; how do you
read it?" He replied, "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
tby neighbor as thyself." Jesus said, "That's a good answer, do that and
you'll live." But this man wasn't so sure he could love all kinds of people,
so he asked, "Who is my neighbor?"
To this, Jesus directed a story about a man who, on his way to Jericho
from Jerusalem, was robbed, beaten and left half-dead. This road was the
right setting for it. It was a notoriously-dangerous road. Jerusalem is
2300 feet above sea level. Jericho, near the Dead Sea, is 1300 feet below
sea level; therefore, in about 20 miles, that road drops 3600 feet. It had
many narrow, rocky gaps and was a happy hunting ground for robbers. In the
fifth century, one historian called this road, "the bloody way."
As the man was lying in the ditch, there came by a priest and a Levite,
one at a time, saw him and went on without rendering any aid at all. Then
there came a Samaritan, a member of a race hated by the Jews, and the feeling
was mutual. This man stopped, applied first aid, put the Jewish man on his
own beast, brought him to an inn, took care of him that night, and made mone-
tary provision for his care until he was able to be on his way.
We never really understand God's Word until the Holy Spirit enables us
to see these truths dressed in 20th-century clothes. Take this setting out
of Palestine, 2000 years ago, and put it in your town today. Think of that
road, not as between Jerusalem and Jericho but, say, between your house and
church. Picture that man, not as bleeding and dying in a ditch, but living
a dead life in a local house. Not bleeding externally bu ...
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