Loving My Neighbor in a Changing World
Text: Luke 10:25-37
by Bob Young
IntroductionThis story is familiar yet unknown. We have heard it but we have not heard it.
Many references suggest Matthew 22 or Mark 12 as parallels. There are significant differences in timing, placement, and details.
Context: Luke is a gospel of reversals.
The Samaritan references in Luke are significant given the generally recognized universality of this gospel; 9:51ff; 17:11ff.
The parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that the rules of Jesus are significantly difference than those of the world.
Jesus does not call this Samaritan good. The modern world has noted the difference -- this Samaritan exceeds the norm.
Who are the "Samaritans" of our world? Am I? Are we?
- Note the question, the question response, and the answer.
- Love for neighbors depends upon how well we love ourselves.
- The followup question is self-serving. The legalist mind cannot value genuine relationships.
- Consider some alternate, better questions.
- Whose neighbor am I?
- How can I be a neighbor?
- Who is a neighbor? (Jesus' question)
- Notice some details, easily overlooked.
- When we live in the world, it is easy to walk in the world, to walk away from life, to walk on the other side.
- The popular side, the side of selfishness
- The inexpensive side, the side of materialism
- The easy side, the side of my comfort zone
- Do we love others, or do we try to get others to love us?
- Options for living (trilogies)
- Do before they do unto you; do as they do unto you; do as you would want
- Yours is mine; mine is mine; mine is yours
- Iron Rule, Silver Rule, Golden Rule
- Victim to exploit, nuisance to avoid, fellow-traveler to be helped
- By what rules do you live life? Jesus dealt with three basic types of people.
- The rule of power (Pharisees, religious leaders, political leaders) only leads to more victimization.
- The rule of selfishness is self-serving and tends identifies the nuisances of life.
- The rule of mutuality seeks the good of others, regardless.
- The ultimate question is, What must I do to inherit eternal life?
ConclusionThe parable suggests a two-fold answer to the question--a vertical component and a horizontal component.
What must I do to inherit eternal life? We have taught well the vertical component, love the Lord, obey him, be loyal, live for him. Learning of and accepting Jesus, respond in repentance, and mark the new beginning with baptism for the remission of sins.
What must I do to inherit eternal life? We have focused much less on the horizontal component. Love your neighbor as yourself, do good to others, live like Jesus.
As long as we only discuss, we are like the lawyer. We must act! Will you pass the test? Go and do likewise!
Whose neighbor am I?
Return to Sermon Index
Last updated July 1, 2020