Jesus Christ was asked the question who is our neighbour? Rather than give a direct answer, he spoke a parable that became the most popular of all the parables. He said there was a certain Jew who was attacked by arm robbers and was badly beaten up. He was left by the road side bleeding and priests and fellow Jews passed by without rendering help to the man, but a certain Samaritan business man on a trip saw the badly beaten man whom everyone had ignored. He had compassion on him and took him to an inn and employed the manager of the inn to look after the Jew until he returns from his trip. Depositing some money for his upkeep. Jesus described this man as a good Samaritan.
The Jews and the Samaritans were never good neighbours. They had a frosty relationship because of a caste system that existed; Jews regarded themselves as superior to the Samaritans. The gulf that existed between these two communities was echoed when the Jews accused Jesus Christ of being a Samaritan in John 8:48-49 “The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
Jesus answered, “I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.”
This caste system operate in all nations of the world, it has resulted in neighbours killing neighbours because of religious, ethnic, colour and race issues. Those who are discriminated against are stigmatized to such extent that they confess their inferiority before men. Here is a biblical example of a scenario in which our Lord Jesus Christ was involved in; John 4:5-10 “So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
The follow up scriptures showed the love we as Jesus disciples are suppose to show to our fellow human beings regardless of ethnicity, colour or creed. We hear and talk so much about the Good Samaritan, without knowing why Jesus Christ took particular interest in that scenario that has become a major reference point in the Kingdom of God.
Our neighbours are not necessarily those who live next door or on our street. They could be those we don’t know or have not met before; this could be the stranger, the fatherless or the widows. One of the ten commandments stated that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves. It is a sin to keep malice with your neighbours or hate them. As Christians, we are suppose to be the first to show love anywhere we find ourselves. The central theme of the Kingdom of God is expressed by love. As captured in 1 Corinth 13:4 “ Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.”
(This is an extract from my book “IF JESUS WAS ME, WHAT WOULD HE DO?” published by amazon.com)
Phillips Eteng, Evangelist.