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Mar 19, 2002

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Who is My Neighbour?

Posted by: Administrator on October 18, 2001 4:57:37 AM (5681 Reads)

- What difference is there between “neighbour” and “fellowmen?”

- Why were the PRIEST and LEVITE not able to follow the commandment, "Love thy neighbour," when they were the epitome of righteousness and godliness?

- What did the inquiring Scribe (lawyer) miss in his scrutiny of the commandments?

 

“WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?”

 

The parable of the Good Samaritan is familiar to the Christian world, and the general perception of the lesson is "love of fellowmen."

 

Luke 10:25 " …a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And 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."

 

The lawyer or Scribe quoted the Old Testament laws in:

 

Deut. 6:5 " And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

 

Lev. 19:18 " Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

 

The Scribe purporting to show his knowledge of the law further asked our Lord:

 

Luke 10:29 " But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and bound up his wound, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."

 

The “letter” vs. the “spirit” of the word

 

2 Cor 3:6  “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

 

 

1. A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho

 

The “letter” of the word or the literal simply means a man leaving Jerusalem and going to Jericho. Inferences may be presented by different people for the reason of the man. However, God has His way of differentiating His written words from man’s point of vews. Jericho is a wicked place occupied by non-Israelites. The wonderful story of this wicked place, Joshua 2-6, however showed that God wanted to take it for there are some people who were willing to humble themselves before Him like Rahab, the harlot.

 

Jos 2:1  “And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.”

 

Jos 3:10  “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.”

 

Similarly illustrated was when King Herod wanted to kill the child Jesus, that Mary and Joseph took Him to Egypt, supposedly a wicked place, to escape from his wrath.

 

Mat 2:3 “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

 

Mat 2:13  “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”

 

Jerusalem supposedly a land of holiness where our Lord Jesus preached God’s righteousness turned out to be a land of religious hypocrisy.

 

Mat 16:21  “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed...” 

 

Mat 23:37  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

 

Rightly so, the victim in the parable left Jerusalem and wanted to find spiritual refuge in Jericho as that of the child Jesus. The man leaving Jerusalem and going to Jericho is the “neighbour” that our Lord emphasized in His parable. This is clearly illustrated with facts.  

 

 

2. Was the Scribe able to follow what our Lord told him?"

 

“Then said Jesus to the lawyer (teacher of the law), Go, and do thou likewise. " Through the word, our Lord explains this at the end of the article.

 

Many other points in the parable need to be expounded by God through His words, since God "and" our Lord "is" speaking in parables:

 

Ezek. 20:49 " Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables? "

 

Psa. 78:2 " I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: "

 

Mark 4:34 " But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. "

  1. To the Natural Man, the parable is already the explanation to the commandment "love thy neighbour as thyself." Thus, "neighbour" could be any person that needs help in several aspects of life, be they material, financial, intellectual or emotional.

     

    1 Cor. 2:14 " But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. "

  2. Why were the PRIEST and LEVITE not able to follow the commandment, "Love thy neighbour as thyself," when they were the epitome of righteousness and godliness?
  3. Since Christ is speaking in parables and only He could and should explain the meaning, who typifies the good Samaritan?
  4. Who characterizes the victim? What significance does "leaving Jerusalem and going to Jericho " have in the parable?
  5. Who personify the thieves?
  6. What were the "wounds" inflicted by the thieves on the victim?
  7. What purpose is the pouring of "oil and wine" on the wounds inflicted by the thieves?
  8. What is "stripping the victim of his raiment?"
  9. What is the "inn" where the Samaritan brought the victim?
  10. What symbolizes the "two pence" paid for the service in taking care of the victim?

The great message of the parable of the Good Samaritan is revealed when another Scribe, in contrast with the former, came to our Lord.

 

Mark 12:28 " And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

 

Comparing the two Scribes, the former showed his pride by asking, "Who is my neighbour?" This pertains already to the last commandment conceited of his knowledge of the law. The humility of the latter Scribe however is discerned from his question. Our Lord answered him:

 

Mark 12:29 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel ; The Lord our God is one Lord."

 

The former Scribe was ignorant of this "first of all the commandments." The latter Scribe also does not know this commandment but was humble enough to ask our Lord.

 

Deut. 6:4 "Hear, O Israel : The LORD our God is one LORD."

 

Since Jesus Christ preceded the Two Great Commandments with, "The Lord our God is one Lord," and emphasized it as the "first of all the commandments," this must be a PREREQUISITE to LOVE. Thereafter, Jesus said:

 

Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

 

From the foregoing, it is clear Jesus Christ set the proper sequence, which the former Scribe failed to appreciate:

 

1st Step – To identify "THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD."

2nd Step - "LOVE GOD…"

3rd Step - "LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR…"

 

The former Scribe had in mind the 3rd step, thinking he had gone over the 1st and 2nd steps already.

 

 

3. Why were the PRIEST and the LEVITE not able to follow the commandment, "Love thy neighbour as thyself," when they were the epitome of righteousness and godliness?

 

The Priests and the Levites served in the temple. The Scribes and Teachers of the Law were known for their knowledge of the Law, while the Pharisees were typical example for righteousness in the eyes of the people. Jesus Christ however rebuked them for not recognizing Him as the promised Messiah and therefore did not even know the God they were worshipping.

 

John 8:19 "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."

 

John 8:54 "Jesus answered…it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55Yet ye have not known him…"

 

The PRIEST and the LEVITE could not have gone to the 2nd step, that is, "loving God" without first having passed the 1st step. The 1st step is the clear identification of "The Lord our God is one Lord." Unknowingly, the former Scribe was caught with his own temptation in asking, "Who is my neighbour?" How could he know his "neighbour" when he is "spiritually blind" in not "seeing" the God he presumes to love? He may claim belief in one God but, again, this sharp rebuke is hurled before him and the religious leaders:

 

James 2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe…"

 

It is the Samaritan, considered a Gentile by the Jews that they are not even allowed to talk to, who succeeded "loving his neighbour." He is a sinner in the eyes of the Jews, who found favor from our Lord more than they who claim otherwise. The Samaritan therefore must have passed the 1st step, that is, truly recognizing "The Lord our God is one Lord."

 

Matt. 11:27 " … no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."

 

The Samaritan, like Simon Peter, clearly identified JESUS by divine revelation.

 

Matt. 16:15 " He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

 

As a spiritual babe in the eyes of God, this truth is proven in him:

 

Matt. 11:25 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."

 

The Samaritan must have passed the 2nd step!

 

Proverbs 8:17 "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."

 

Thus, he went to the 3rd Step of "loving his neighbour."

 

 

4. Since Christ is speaking in parables and only He could and should explain the meaning, who typifies the good Samaritan?

 

The good Samaritan may be a physical Jew or a Gentile for God does not look at the nationality of a person:

 

Gal. 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek …for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

 

Christ looks more at the spiritual humility of a person, as His Disciples were:

 

Matt. 18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

 

It is to the spiritual babes that God endows divine knowledge and wisdom:

 

Isa. 28:9 KJV only "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts."

 

2 Tim. 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

 

The Good Samaritans at any given time therefore are the people who are "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3) and never are spiritually proud as the Scribes and Pharisees.

 

 

5. Who characterizes the victim? What significance does "leaving Jerusalem and going to Jericho " have in the parable?

 

The victim was on his way from Jerusalem going to Jericho. Literally, this is only a simple journey from one place to another. Spiritually however, Jerusalem is considered a sacred place because God entrusted His words there. Nonetheless, because of hardness of the heart due to spiritual blindness, Christ spoke of it as a bad place:

 

Matt. 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

 

The victim, in leaving Jerusalem , therefore wanted to leave spiritual blindness. Jericho on the other hand was a place of wicked people surrounded by high walls. By the power of God, a mere shout brought down the walls and God's chosen people occupied it (Joshua 6). The victim was going away from a conceived godly place, and coming to a known ungodly one, but in the eyes of God it is just the opposite.

 

 

6. Who personify the thieves?

 

Literally, thieves are those who steal things of value and kill people. Our Lord introduced the spiritual thieves as those who do not pass through the "door" of the sheepfold.

 

John 10:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."

 

Spiritually, the "door" is Jesus Christ:

 

John 10:9 "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…"

 

Jesus Christ, the spiritual door, is the TRUTH:

 

John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth…"

 

Therefore spiritual thieves are the people who do not pass through the spiritual door. The spiritual door is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Truth. However, many people are claiming the truth, but they cannot see each other on matters pertaining to the TRUTH. For further reading:

 

CHRIST AND SATAN IN CONTRAST

 

**Who would say, "I hate Jesus Christ and love Satan." Or, "I hate the truth and love falsehood?"

** Perhaps nobody in his right mind would say that. However, Christ saw it in His time.

** The truth is, many people do not know what they are saying.

 

http://www.purechristianity.org/index.php?module=articles&func=display&ptid=1&aid=56

 

 

7. What were the "wounds" inflicted by the thieves on the victim?

 

Literally, the wounds inflicted by the thieves are bruises, lacerations, and cuts of the body. Spiritually, these are "wounds of the soul" that need spiritual healing:

 

Psa. 41:4 "I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee."

 

Jer. 30:17 "For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD."

 

Spiritually therefore, the wounds inflicted by the thieves on the victim are the wrong teachings and deceptions which, they themselves have, because of spiritual blindness. Can we not cite Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul the apostle, who was one of those who stoned Stephen? Saul of Tarsus before recognizing his God was a spiritual thief in the eyes of Christ.

 

 

8. What purpose is the pouring of "oil and wine" on the wounds inflicted by the thieves?

 

Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit as in, "Anointing with oil / anointing with the Holy Spirit." Wine signifies the "blood" of Jesus shed on the cross, as He told His apostles in:

 

Matt. 26:27 "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

 

Spiritual wounds could only be healed by the truth with the shedding of blood on the cross, fulfilling the testament of salvation, and the resulting availability of the Holy Spirit to "victims of spiritual thieves" on their way to spiritual Jericho.

 

 

9. What is "stripping the victim of his raiment?"

 

How far is the spiritual from the literal. Spiritually, raiment refers to the "garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness."

 

Isa. 61:10 "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…"

 

Because the thieves were themselves spiritually naked of the garment of salvation, they want other people to be like them for "misery loves company" goes the saying.

 

 

10. What is the "inn" where the Samaritan brought the victim?

 

The good Samaritan brought the man to an inn. " Inn " symbolizes the "household of God" where spiritual wounds could be healed. In the "household of God" there is the physician.

 

Matt. 9:12 " … Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

 

Eph. 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."

 

Eph. 2:20 "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

 

 

11. What symbolizes the "two pence" paid for the service in taking care of the victim?

 

From the revelation of God of His words, these are the two kinds of life of the Good Samaritan, as example. In the "Inn" or the household of God, the victim would find these that he would have a complete spiritual "healing" and become spiritually "healthy" as the Good Samaritan.

 

  • PHYSICAL LIFE composed of the BODY and its attributes and the SOUL consisting of the intellect and feeling.
  • SPIRITUAL LIFE composed of the SPIRIT OF GOD for divine knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual strength;  and SOUL that the intellect and feeling would be totally submissive to the "will of the Father."

For further reading:

 

THE WISE AND FOOLISH BUILDERS - PART I

Building the “Spiritual Life”

(Spirituality in contrast with Religiosity)

- Nobody wants to be a foolish builder.

- But because of spiritual blindness like the Scribes and Pharisees, unwittingly, we may be foolish builders in the eyes of God.

- Who, then, are the wise builders from the point of view of God? Men

 

http://www.purechristianity.org/index.php?module=articles&func=display&ptid=1&aid=39

 

 

THE WISE AND FOOLISH BUILDERS - PART II

Building the "Physical Life"

(Social, Economic, Political, Scientific)

 

http://www.purechristianity.org/index.php?module=articles&func=display&ptid=1&aid=38

 

 

SUMMARY

 

The question of the former Scribe (lawyer of the law), "Who is my neighbour?" is clearly answered in the parable through the word of God. "Neighbour" is not just any person in need, as many people believe to be. “Neighbour” is not synonymous with “fellowmen.” "Neighbor" as used in "Love thy neighbor as thyself," is a person who is leaving spiritual darkness and going to the light of the gospel. No wonder a "neighbour" is a favorite victim of spiritual thieves and robbers.

 

The former Scribe could not have followed the Two Great Commandments for he showed his real character before of our Lord. He is "rich in spirit" in contrast to the latter Scribe. He could not have "loved his neighbour" for not having "loved God" first, because he did not even recognize Jesus Christ as to identify "The Lord our God is one Lord."

 

The latter Scribe, by virtue of his being "poor in spirit" is endowed with divine knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, he must have recognized "The Lord our God is one Lord," thus, successfully "obeying" the "first of all the commandments." This is followed by "loving God" which is actually His words and, lastly, "love of neighbour" that is demonstrated in another parable of our Lord:

 

Matt. 25:31 "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

 

This was already explained, and Jesus Christ as model showed the Way in following it. It is not literal-physical as the Natural Man understands it.

 

1 Cor. 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

 

Food to the hungry is not literal bread, but the truth in the word. Jesus is the Truth.

 

John 6:35 "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

 

Water to the thirsty is not mineral or fresh water, but the word of God and the Holy Spirit:

 

Eph. 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."

 

John 7:37 " …Jesus stood…, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38.(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

 

To a “stranger” it is not literal inn, but the "household of God."

 

Eph. 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."

 

To the naked, it is not clothes and pants but "garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness."

 

Isa. 61:10 "… my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…"

 

Visiting the sick are not those in the hospital, but the "sick in spirit or soul."

 

Psalms 41:4 "I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee."

 

Jer. 3:22 "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings."

 

Going to prison is not to bail a criminal, but sharing the truth to a person in spiritual bondage that would set him/her free from human precepts, doctrines of men, and religious traditions.

 

John 8:32 " And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

 

Who can identify oneself with the latter or humble Scribe who said the following and received the approval of our Lord?

 

Mark 12:32 "And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: 33And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."

 

"In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word." (Psa. 56:10)

 

END