Who is my neighbour? audio (5MB)
Passage: Luke 10:25-37
Have you ever not really liked someone? Not just nyeah, I’m not sure about them.
I mean really not liked someone. Not happy to have them around at all.
You don’t have anything nice to say about them, they just could never do anything right and boy whenever they are around they are nothing but trouble!
All around the world there are many wars and civil conflicts going on. Often when you talk to people on one side that’s the way they feel about people on the other side. They can’t say anything nice about them and really don’t like them and don’t want them around.
But you might hear people talk like that even when there isn’t a war around, maybe when a friendship has gone wrong or someone feels humiliated or betrayed by someone. We have our own prejudices, we make selective observations and remember things that happened in past history or the way certain people behaved.
Well when Jesus lived, it was exactly the same. There were two groups of people who couldn’t stand each other and would rather cross the street than walk on the same side if they saw them coming along.
So one day this good, nice, smart, helpful man came up to Jesus and said you know the Bible has two commandments pretty much. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as you love yourself. Jesus said I couldn’t have said it better myself, spot on. But the good, nice, smart, helpful man says but who is my neighbour, like is it just the people next door or are the people across the street my neighbours as well. How about down the street? How far should I go to help someone if I want to please God?
So Jesus as he often did, told him a story. A man was travelling through a dangerous place, a really dangerous place like Melbourne city on a weekend night or maybe at pub at 230 am with a bunch of cricketers or according to “Today tonight” on Melbourne Public Transport. A bunch of crooks jumped him, beat him up, robbed him and left him for dead. Help help said the man, until he was too weak to cry out anymore. It just happened that a very good religious man, who always went to church and knew his Bible really well and was always involved in his church services and was very helpful to people in his church went past and saw the man in trouble. But thought hang on I don’t know anything about this guy, maybe he caused this trouble on himself. I don’t want to get involved in his life and mistakes. He probably deserved what he got, and walked by without getting involved.
The people in the crowd thought well that’s not very nice but I guess it was the right thing to do. I guess it’s smarter to be safe than sorry.
A little while later another good, religious, smart man came along and saw the man in trouble and looked around and thought, I don’t know who did this to this guy but what if they’re still around. I have people that I have to look after and there really is no point in me getting hurt too. What’s happened to him has happened better not get caught up in this and so he too rushed past, without lending a hand.
The people in the crowd thought – that’s just tough luck. The guy did the right thing but the poor guy still needs help. Is anyone going to help him?
Just then Jesus said, along came a guy from the group of people that the crowd hated. Well he’s not going to be of much help is he, thought the crowd. In fact he’s probably going to hurt the man some more.
But then Jesus continued with the story, this man didn’t care about how the man got into trouble or what would happen to him if he helped. He stopped, gave the man first aid, helped the man onto his own transport, took him to the nearest motel, stayed with him overnight, paid his bills and told the owners please look after this man whom I don’t know, but on my way back I’ll stop and pay off any extra costs taking care of him may have incurred.
The crowd was silent. They were shocked. What? The bad guy is the hero? Who ever heard of such a thing?
Well said Jesus, who was the neighbour in the story? The guy who helped said the good, kind, smart helpful guy. And now you can go and do the same said Jesus. Our neighbour is not just the people who live next door to us or are just like or just like us. It’s anybody who is in need even if they are people that you don’t like or people who have not been nice to you. Because God cares for everybody whether they are nice or not nice. So be generous in your care of those you come across who need your help, however small or large that help.