NOT my neighbour?
By Elder Fine Bhebhe
A lawyer wanted to trick Jesus, and he paused a question "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25). Jesus asked him what the Bible says. In other words Jesus was saying to him, "If you follow everything that is written in this holy Book then you are 'save-able.'" After the lawyer had gone on into acknowledging that for that to happen to you and me you first have to "love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind" (Deuteronomy 6:5). Because Jesus had questioned his reading of the Bible, the lawyer wanted to exhibit to Jesus that after all, he was a reader of the holy Book. Thus he went further and said that secondly, if you want to inherit eternal life you will have to "love your neighbour as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18).
If he (the lawyer) knew all this, why was he asking Jesus the question in the first place? It is because he wanted to trick Jesus, and consistant with his intentions he went on and said, "...[but then] who is my neighbour?" (Luke 10:29). The question really that begs for an answer even in this day and age is, "Who is NOT my neighbour?"
In answering this man, Jesus gave an account that outlines the history of humanity, its present state, and what Heaven has done to salvage this desperate situation. He narrates an account of a certain man who travelled from the city of Jerusalem to a neigbouring city of Jericho. The path he used was ashort-cut, but it was a dangerous path too as it was invfested with robbers. Apparently, many people had been mugged on this road. Amongst Jesus' hearers in this crowd were people who either had been victims or knew someone who had been a victim at some point in time.
This traveller Jesus was talking about was also mugged by the robbers, stripped of all his belongings and left for dead. Two clergy passed by at different times and each gave an excuse as to why it was not logical for them to help this wounded man.
Lastly came a man from Samaria and this is what transpired:
- There is a badly wounded man who has no ability to save himself,
- His clothes are torn,
- Had compassion and so risked his own life to help this wounded man,
- He diembarked from his donkey (comfort zone) and let the wounded man ride instead,
- He cleaned his wounds with oil and wine,
- He dressed up his wounds (i.e. he clothed him),
- He took him to a motel for caring,
- He took two pieces of money and paid the motel worker for his work,
- He promised to come back,
- He promised to further reward the motel worker upon his return.
- Humanity was deceived, robbed and bruised by the devil and left to perish – red with sin (Isaiah 1:18),
- Our clothing, which is our character (Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah 59:6) is torn by sinner,
- Jesus had compassion on our helpless condition – while yet sinners (Romans 5:8)
- Not only did He leave His glory and comfort (back of the Samaritan’s donkey), but also endangered Himself of being attacked by same robbers,
- Jesus poured us with His oil (Holy Spirit - Zechariah 4:2-6; Revelation 4:5) and wine (His spilt blood – Matthew 26:27-28; Mark 14:23-24 ) to clean us of our wounds,
- Jesus gives us His Garment (rightousness) to cover our shame (Matthew 22:11,12)
- Jesus left His church (motel) to care for the weary and wounded souls,
- Jesus gave those in His church the Bible (both the old and the new testament) - the two witnesses of Revelation (Revelations 11:3,4),
- Jesus went away, but left a blessed promise - “I will come again” (John 14:3).
- Upon His return, Jesus promised to reward those who have been working in His vineyard. (Revelation 22:12)