Who is my Neighbor is what prompted Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan. In both the Old and New Testament times in the days of Jesus, the average Hebrew man considered a fellow Jew as his neighbor. In other words, if you were not of the stock of Israel and a descendant of Abraham you were not a neighbor. Then Jesus came to the scene and took the term "neighbor" to a new and its proper level. The story about the rift between the pure "Jews" and the Samaritans was a known issue. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan I believe the audience including Jesus’ disciples was shocked to learn that it was the Samaritan who helped the man who was left for dead by the armed robbers. In my own experience who is my neighbor? My neighbor is the person who lives next to me in my community. My neighbor is the person who lives on the same street where I live. By way of extension, my neighbor is the person that I meet on the street, the gas station, the grocery store, the departmental store where I shop for my clothes. The truth of the matter is that how can I be an international missionary when I do not even know the person who lives in close proximity to me on my street? How can I take the gospel to another nation when I do not share it with people who live in the same neighborhood as me? In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the religious people that we thought would help the man who was left for death passed by because it was not convenient for them to help him. They allowed religious ritual to take the place of compassion. They allowed religious performance to interfere with caring for a person who needed their help urgently. They did not want to get involved. They did not want to become messy but the Christian life is messy, because we have to get involved in the life of messy people. That is what Jesus came to do for you and me. He got Himself involved in our messy lives when He paid the price for our sins on Calvary's cross. Are you prepared to be a good neighbor and get your hands dirty?
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