Richard Beck wrote, “We all know the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The story is triggered by a lawyer who asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.”
And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus then tells the very familiar story. But at the end of the story Jesus flips the question around:
“Which of these three do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
The question the man asks at the start is: “Who is my neighbor?”
The question Jesus asks is: “Who was the neighbor?”
I love this subtle change Jesus makes.
It’s not about Them, it’s about You.
The issue isn’t “Who is my neighbor?” but “Are you a neighbor?”
“Who was the neighbor?” Jesus