Chapter 37 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10.29).
The author retells the well-known story of the “Good Samaritan” in a way that reminds us of its importance in our daily lives.
Jesus told this story in response to the question we are considering this week, “Who is my neighbor?” The author begins:
With the fast pace of life today, many of us would be hard-pressed to even know the names of those who live next door. Gone are the days when we shouted across the white picket fence to borrow a cup of sugar. It is not just difficult; it is virtually impossible to love our neighbors as Christ commanded when we don’t even know their names.
Yet Jesus is challenging us to get out of our comfort zones, to put our busyness on the back burner, to stop and be like the man we call the “good” Samaritan. Interestingly, as Hawkins points out, Jesus never calls him “good.” Instead, He merely called him “a certain man.”
We tend to think that what this Samaritan did was somehow “good,” “special,” and “out of the ordinary,” but it should characterize the life of every believer.
What did this Samaritan do that we should emulate?
- He saw the need.
It is easy to be like the religious men who passed by on the other side of the road, instead of seeing with our hearts.
- He felt the need.
To get the full impact of what he did, we need to consider the cultural environment in which the story took place.The Samaritans were hated by the Jews and I’m sure the feeling was mutual. Hawkins:
Upon seeing the beaten man, the Bible says the Samaritan “had compassion” (Luke 10: 33). His heart went out to the person in pain and in need despite the fact that— and Jesus made this very clear— the beaten man was a Jew and the one who rendered aid was a Samaritan. If that doesn’t mean much, think of it this way. In modern terms, this gesture was like a black, liberal, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat seeing a white, southern, fundamentalist, Tea Party member in need! It was akin to a member of the NAACP seeing a white supremacist militia man lying on the side of the road. The religious, political, and racial animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans was indescribable.
Yet the Samaritan, not only saw the need, but felt it. He had compassion on the wounded man and his compassion drove him to get involved.
- He touched the need.
Touching means getting involved, at times getting your hands dirty.
At times, it can even be risky, if not downright dangerous. Many years ago a friend of mine was kidnapped along with her young daughter. They were eventually marched out into the desert, shot and left for dead. She survived and when she came to, she tried to carry her wounded daughter to the roadside. When that proved impossible, she made her way to the road alone to get help. Bleeding and severely wounded, she attempted to flag down a passing motorist. Many of them passed her by before a good Samaritan stopped, rushed her to the hospital, and sent rescuers to find her daughter. That man overcame the fear of stopping in a deserted location and his actions saved both of their lives.
- He met the need.
The Samaritan not only provided for the man’s immediate needs, but paid the innkeeper to care for him and promised to come back and settle the account if there were more expenses. He didn’t let the cost or the risk deter him from loving his neighbor.
Consider for a moment that each of us has been the wounded man lying at the side of the road. Jesus saw us beaten, battered by sin, and lying on the side of the road. Overwhelmed by compassion and love for us, He left heaven (His comfort zone), came into our world, and then touched us. Jesus took our old heart out and put in a brand-new one. Then, like the Samaritan, He took us to the inn— to a place of fellowship with His people— and promised He would come back to settle all accounts!
And He has commanded us to, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10.37).
The cost in many cases is minimal. It may mean taking the time to learn to share the gospel effectively. It may mean setting aside time to help in some ministry or starting one.
The risk, too, is often minimal, sometimes simply the risk of being rejected when sharing the gospel or the risk of losing our anonymity, of forcing ourselves to get to know our neighbors, co-workers and fellow church members on a deeper level.
In some cases, their eternal destiny may hang in the balance. The time is short. Let’s be willing to see the needs around us, respond with compassion, and get involved.
Next week’s question: Where are the nine? (Luke 17.17).
Last week’s question: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27.46). Read it here.
I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or HERE for Kindle.
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