Loving your Neighbor: The Samaritan

Introduction

In this thesis, the parable of the good Samaritan is discussed. The basis of the parable and its significance are detailed.

The Basis of the Parable

Jesus´ purpose for giving this parable is to explain who a man´s neighbor is. As could be read from the scripture below:

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 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 neighbor as thyself” (Luk 10:25-27).

So, a proper understanding of who a person´s neighbor is, and loving him or her as oneself is a key requirement, if one wants to see the Kingdom of God. The Lawyer asked to know who is called a neighbor (Luk 10:29). Jesus replied to him by giving the parable (read Luk 10: 30-35).

The Parable

According to the Bible, armed robbers had attacked a man (who was a Jew) and had left him almost dead in the way. A priest, who was a fellow Jew, went down the same way but seeing the dying man, refused to attend to him. He feared that he would be impure by touching the man. Similarly, A Levite (also a Jew) seeing the wounded man, and wishing to avoid defilement, ignored him. Though he went and looked on him and left him there. It was a Samaritan who got down from his donkey and took care of the dying man and sent him to the nearest health center for treatment.

A question to the Lawyer is, so, which of these three, do you think, was neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? (Luk 10:36). His answer is, “The one doing the deed of mercy to him” (Luk 10:37). Jesus, therefore, charged him to go and do likewise (Luk 10:37).

How could a Samaritan be a neighbor to the Jew? The Lawyer was not pleased with the whole scenario. The reasons are that the Jews saw their fellow Jews as their neighbors (Lev 19:18, Luk 10:29), but not people like the Samaritans because:

  • Samaritans were persons from whom a Jew had no right to expect any help or support, because of the enmity which existed between them.
  • The Samaritans were descendants of those who had not been deported or killed in the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 B.C. (2Ki 17:23-40). These survivors had intermarried with the heathen colonists brought in from Babylonia by the Assyrian conquerors. So these people were looked upon as unclean traitors to Jewish blood (.
  • The Samaritans were seen as strangers (Luk 17:11-18) and not part of the Commonwealth of Israel.
  • Jews have no dealings with Samaritans (Joh 4:9)
  • Samaritans were considered to have demons (Joh 8:48).

How do we go and do the same as the Samaritan did? We may do this by accepting people who are different from us. Accept and help other people that you do not like. Examples include people of other faiths and the homosexuals.

If you are to love your enemies (Matt 5:44) who are looking to see your downfall, who would be happy to see you and your family impoverished and destroyed, Then what about that homosexual who treats your diseases, your dentists? The teacher who teaches you knowledge in school? He or she may be your chef, bus driver, the military officer who defends and protect you against external aggression, the police officer who protects you day and night. The immigration officer who gave you your visa and resident permit, the minister who protects the right of the immigrants, and the vulnerable, and so on?

Are we not supposed to love them and pray for them? I do not have any scriptural basis to justify homosexuality as an act of righteousness. Yes, it is a sin as far as I know, for the Bible condemns it (Lev 18:22, Rom 1:25-28, 1Co 6:9, 1Ti 1:9-10) but they are our neighbors. They deserve to be respected and treated with dignity just as any other person.

Conclusion

This parable of Jesus is not given just to amuse believers. It is a call to remove hatred from our hearts and begin to accept and love all people just as we do love ourselves.

Prayer: Help us, Dear Lord, to love all people as we love ourselves. In the name of Jesus Christ.

Concerning Jesus Christ of Nazareth (II)

Introduction

The death of Christ Jesus shattered the hopes of His disciples. They had completely lost faith that their master would be raised back to life. This was the discussion some of His disciples were having when the resurrected Christ met them on their way to Emmaus. This paper discusses the significance of His death as outlined in the Holy Scriptures.

Concerning His Death and Resurrection

Jesus, after His resurrection,  appeared to two of His disciples on the way to Emmaus. They were speaking about the trending event that had taken place in Jerusalem-His death and resurrection. He wanted to be part of their conversation, so:

“.. he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done” (Luk 24:19-22).

The disciples believed that Jesus was to deliver Israel from the dominion of the foreign powers as detailed in the above discourse. But having forgotten their scriptures and the teachings of Christ, they thought that the end of their faith in the Messiah had come to an end as a result of His death. But Jesus took them through the scriptures again and explained to them that:

“These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luk 24:44).

Jesus, therefore, opened their understanding through the teaching of the Word of God, and by divine power, so that they might properly understand scriptures. He affirmed that His suffering, death, and resurrection are not new but they are events already recorded in the Holy Book (Luk 24:25-26).

The Purpose of His Resurrection

The core mandate of Christ on earth was to bring repentance and remissions of sins to the sinner. This was realized after His resurrection. Jesus intimates that for His suffering and resurrection, “..Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47).

Repentance and remission of sins was key to the teaching of the Apostles. It is read that God raised Christ and made Him sit on His right hand as a Prince and a Savior in order to give repentance and forgiveness of sins to His people (Acts 5:31). Paul is very confident to write  that:

“..If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (Acts 15: 14), and that “..If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (Acts 15:17).

We are no longer sinners because of our faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. According to the Scriptures, if a sinner confesses Jesus Christ with his or her mouth, and believes in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, he or she shall be saved (Rom 10:9). Therefore, the victory of Christ over death is our victory over sin and death. We access the grace of God to repent from our evil ways and Christ remits or forgives our sins.

It is the responsibility of a sinner to repent before he or she is declared righteous by God. Jesus gives a delegated authority to His holy and accredited Apostles to represent Him and remit people of their sins upon showing repentance from sins (Joh 20:23).

Conclusion

It is the resurrection of Christ and our faith in it that brings us repentance from dead works and forgiveness of sins. The mission of Jesus would have been incomplete if He had not been raised. If a person denies the resurrection of Christ, he or she has denied eternal life.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, may you increase my faith and help me to believe in the death and resurrection of your beloved Son. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. AMEN!