“Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. ‘Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?’

He answered, ‘What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?’

He said, ‘That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.’

‘Good answer!’ said Jesus. ‘Do it and you’ll live.’

Looking for a loophole, he asked, ‘And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?’

Jesus answered by telling a story. ‘There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back’.”

‘What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?’

The one who treated him kindly,’ the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, ‘Go and do the same’.” Luke 10:25-37 (MSG)


A religious man came to Jesus looking for the boundaries of who he had to love and those who could simply walk by. Jesus’s response to how He defined one’s neighbor probably changed the direction of the conversation. While the scholar was looking for rules, Jesus was more concerned with the heart. The Jews did not interact with the Samaritans because of their lineage. Therefore, Jews would sometimes go to extensive lengths to avoid contact with the Samaritans. The Samaritan who helped the man in need while everyone else walked by was loving his neighbor. It would have been inconvenient and costly. He may have been looked down upon by others. However, instead of worrying about what he could get out of the situation, he had the injured man’s best interest at heart. Jesus’ audience would have more readily identified with the priest or Levite. They thought that there were more important religious matters to which they needed to attend. They drew a line, not based on what was right, but rather based on rules. While the religious leaders of the day had placed a boundary for love, Jesus made a bridge. He was essentially pointing to the person who no one would want to love and said to love that person.


Within our Christian circles, it can be relatively easy to love people who believe the same things we do. What if we took the time to love someone who couldn’t do anything for us in return? Jesus’ love for us is not transactional; it’s unconditional. He calls us to love people in the same way. So, who is your neighbor? It may be someone with whom you work, go to school, or meet in the daycare carpool line. Your neighbor might look less like you than you may have expected. Love doesn’t have the rules that we place on it. Jesus calls us to love people, because that is what He did for us. He didn’t wait for us to get our lives together before He laid His life down on the cross. His love stretched so far that He invites everyone into relationship with Himself. Ephesians 5:2 (MSG) says, “Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” When we love people like Jesus does through kindness and generosity, we come to realize that our love does not have to be limited, because we are tapped into an unlimited supply. If you have difficulty loving that person at work who drives you crazy or that family member that just can’t seem to pull it together, remember how God’s loving kindness brought you to a relationship with Him. Once you start loving other people like that, you just never know how God will use your love to break down walls in that person’s life so that they can experience His love like never before. 


Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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