“Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: But Who Is Your Neighbor?(Lk.10:25-37).
The story of the Good Samaritan was intended to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Nieghbor is one of the words that have become seemingly common to us. But it appears the word is not common in our indigenous languages.
It has been noted that Bible translation often help to broaden the meaning of the gospel beyond its narrow Jewish confines. For example, the now familiar title of the Messiah which is in common use is “Christ” from the Greek “Christos.” If the scriptures had not been translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek we wouldn’t have been used to the Saviour title “Christ.”
Today I decided to read the story of The Good Samaritan in the Mungaka Holy Bible. Then I realized that the dynamic equivalence of neighbor stretches the meaning to be the brotherhood of mankind. Neighbor is translated, “Mfad” meaning “brother/sister.”
The response which the expert in the law gave to Jesus shows that Judaism of Jesus’ time agreed that the sum total of all the commandments were: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
These two commandments stand independent of each other. Love for God with the entirety of your being is a half verse of Deuteronomy 6:5; while love for neighbor as self is a half verse of Levicticus 19:18.
The two verses summarizes the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments is about our vertical relationship with God and the other six commandments concern our horizontal relationship with one another.
Understood in this sense, the meaning of neighbor becomes broader than its narrow definition of “a person living next door to or very near…”
By telling the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus does not refer to the person living next door to or near to the man who was lying on the road helpless. Two people who saw the helpless man and failed to attend to him were the very people who were in the temple in the service of the LORD. The priest and the Levite who ignored the wounded man are the very persons who by virtue of their calling had to show love and kindness to the man. But they did not!
Then came a Samaritan, hated by Jews and considered as a half-breed! Yet he is the one who helped a helpless Jew, took care of him and paid his medical expenses.
It is not always about blood relations or tribal affinities; it is about knowing that whoever is in need is created in the image of God in the same way that you are.
This a true story: Somewhere in the world a Christian was in the hospital and his survival depended on a kidney transplant. His pastor and fellow Christians visited and prayed with him regularly. They prayed that God should send someone who would donate a kidney to him. None of them asked to be tested to see if they could have a match. God heard their prayer and sent a nonChristian who came and donated his kidney and saved the man’s life
My friend, I don’t care if the expert of the law wanted to test Jesus. I don’t care if he wanted to justify himself ! All that I care about is that after the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus asked him as he is asking us: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The man answered in the same way we know, “The one who had mercy on him.”
And so dear friend, the Lord Jesus Christ is telling us in the same way he told the man: “Go and do likewise.”
Thank you all for doing likewise to Ba Nelson G. The picture below is the work in progress on the house. Keep on being the Good Samaritan!
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ open my heart to be a neighbor in the sense of a friend in need. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Ask God to bless you with the spirit of biblical neighborliness.
Rev Babila Fochang.