Meditation for Monday

Now which of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? Luke 10:36

The lawyer whose question prompted the Lord Jesus to deliver the parable of the Good Samaritan actually did not get his question answered. He wanted to know: who is my neighbour? He asked the question with an ulterior motive, seeking to excuse himself from responsibility toward others. As a Pharisee, he would automatically exclude many from being his neighbour, including all Gentiles and Samaritans. As a deeply religious man, he would exclude all of those who were not religious. As a man from the upper levels of society, he would exclude all those from lower stations than his. He was confident that he could love his neighbour as himself, given all of those exclusions. But the Lord Jesus uses the great parable to turn that question totally around with His own question. What was important was not the neighbour of the lawyer, but the neighbour of the stricken man on the Jericho road. Who was his neighbour then? Who is his neighbour today?

Every day we encounter people who are suffering and sorrowing, people who are easily represented by the man who fell among the thieves on the Jericho road. Whether their problems are physical or emotional or spiritual, these folks desperately need someone to show mercy on them. They need hearts that actually care and hands that willingly minister. The world has its societies and agencies and departments that cater to all of these problems. Some, maybe most, of them do good work. But how much do they really care? How deep is their compassion? How pure are their motives when they reach out to help? When Christians act in the likeness of our Lord, we can be the help that these poor people need. We can be their neighbour.

We can also be the help needed by lost souls who are seeking forgiveness of sins and freedom from guilt. In fact, only a Christian can provide this help. If we are aware of the needs of lost souls around us, we can be a witness for our Lord, and a light that will provide the beacon to draw sinners to the Saviour. The man who fell among thieves is an apt picture of a lost sinner. The Good Samaritan is an apt picture not only of the Lord Jesus but of those who carry His Gospel to the perishing souls. We can be their neighbour.

Let us also not lose sight of the Lord’s people who are also suffering in various ways. Some dear saints are overcome with grief at the loss of a spouse or a parent or a child, or at the waywardness of children who have rejected the Gospel. Other Christians are suffering from diseases that rob them of their abilities, their dignity, and their fellowship with the Lord’s people. And there are Christians who are hurting and lonely in other ways. We can be a neighbour to them.

Who is the Lord bringing into your neighbourhood today? Will you be the neighbour that they need? -Jim MacIntosh

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