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Know God in a Year #156 “But who is this Neighbor?”

The lawyer is sincere–he gets that God’s law is the expression of love for God, your neighbor, and yourself, and his answer completely ignores their rules.
But if that’s true…conviction suddenly brings clarity, and with it guilt, and the need to justify himself. So his need to clarify, “Who is my neighbor?”
The rabbis argued this question endlessly. It was accepted that Samaritans and outsiders were not “neighbors,” but what about the classes in their society? According to Pharisaic rules, contact with the “ignorant” and “unclean” required tiring effort to cleanse yourself.
Jesus sidesteps their controversy by telling a story that had recently happened–some of the participants in his audience.
“A  man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, stripped and beaten, and left to die…”
You’ve heard the story, a priest and a Levite come by and cross on the other side.
These men held positions that represented God to the people, and God’s laws required them to relieve even the suffering of animals.* They were called to do what Jesus’ was doing, “binding up the brokenhearted and bruised.”**
But “defilement” and selfishness held them back. Perhaps they were thinking about all the time cleansing would require after contact with the dead.
“A Samaritan came along, saw the man and, feeling pity, put oil and wine on his wounds, lifted him onto his donkey, and carefully walked him to an inn and cared for him. The next morning he left money with the innkeeper, promising more if needed.” Finishing his story of the good (but hated) Samaritan, Jesus looks at the lawyer, who feels like his mind is transparent.
continued tomorrow…
Luke 10:25-35    *Exodus 23:4,5,  Deuteronomy 10:17-19    **Luke 4:18
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