Who Is My Neighbour?
By bro Alan Poon
The question “Who is my neighbor?” is a very common question. My neighbor is Marc’s family who often gives me a lift to the church building. I also have another neighbor who is my ex-schoolmate. This question was also asked in the Bible in Luke 10:25-29.
Luk 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luk 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
Luk 10:27 And he answering said, 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 thy neighbour as thyself.
Luk 10:28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Luk 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
In Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4:17-18, we see that Jesus is all-knowing. If Jesus knew that she had had 5 husbands, surely he could name the neighbors of the lawyer in Luke 10. He must have been surprised by Jesus’ reply in Luke 10:30, when Jesus started talking about a certain man who fell prey to robbers and was left half-dead in the middle of nowhere.
A preacher in the Philippines, Jann Diamante, did a classification of the people mentioned in Jesus’ answer. I have named them according to the ‘5Cs’:
One does not know what the intention of this man was who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
A cruel man terrorised and took advantage of the traveler’s vulnerable situation, and made the road to Jericho dangerous.
There were several thousand priests and Levites who dwelt in Jericho, and they traveled to Jerusalem to attend the service of the temple. The priest passed by without helping, despite knowing what was required of him as a Jew (Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:34).
The difference is the Levite looked at the man and then passed by. Just like the priest, the Levite did not help the injured man.
Jas 1:26-27 says “if any man among you seems to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
This Levite might not have done evil, but there was not enough religion in him to do the compassionate thing. Unfortunately, many of us are like him.
Although the Samaritans and the Jews lived close together, they despised one another. However, this Samaritan provided shelter and nursed the injured man. Today, the “The Good Samaritan” phrase is used to refer to any charitable person who helps out a needy stranger regardless of cultural background, religious persuasion or economic standing.
Here comes the comprehension. Now the lawyer makes sense of the matter. So who was a neighbour unto the poor man? The lawyer replied that it was the person who had shown mercy on him (Luke 10:36).
In conclusion, what must we do to demonstrate a Christ-like life? We need to love God with all our might. We also need to love our neighbour as ourselves. Actions speak louder than words. Just like the good Samaritan’s kind deed, a person does not need to be identical to us in race or religion to receive kindness and help. He could even be an enemy (Mat 5:43-48). But God does not discriminate and has given the gospel to everyone. (Acts 10:34-35). What more then can we say about how we should treat our neighbour?