WEEK 4, DAY 25: RELATIONSHIP
Scripture Reference: Luke 9:18-27
Who is my neighbor? Have you ever stopped and wondered about that question the teacher of the law asked Jesus? Then, have you ever wondered why Jesus used a Samaritan as the hero of his parable? I have! I have often pondered the significance of this story to the teacher of the law. The teacher of the law was a Jewish man and Jewish people did not like Samaritans very much. The feud was mutual for Samaritans did not like Jews either.
Earlier in Luke, Jesus had mentioned loving our enemies. Jesus said something about “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” and “If you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32-33). It should not surprise anyone by the time of the parable about neighbors that Jesus would use our enemy to teach us who our neighbor is.
RESTORING OUR RELATIONSHIP
Jesus was and is all about restoring relationships. Jesus came to restore our relationship with God the Father. He also came to reconcile our relationships with one another. We are to love each person in the same matter Christ loves us.
When I watch the news and hear that a Good Samaritan helped save a life or made a large donation to struggling charity, I feel we miss the point when we read the story in Luke. There was such an animosity between the two groups of people that when Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The teacher of the law could not bring himself to say “the Samaritan”. Instead the teacher of the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him”. To make matters worse, Samaritans and Jews have a kinship. They were kind of like cousins three or four times removed. Sometimes the relationship God is leading us to restore is within our families, even within the Family of God.
Paul writes in Galatians that those who have been baptized in Christ are brothers and sisters in Christ, there is no Jew, no Greek, no male, no female. In other words, the things that divide us are to no longer divide us.
No matter of denominational background, we are one in Christ! The differences that draw our denominational lines are lines drawn in sand not etched in stone. Jesus Christ is the One who unites us, reconciling us to one another so that we can show the world we are disciples of Jesus. It is by our love for one another that the world will know who Jesus is and be reconciled to God.
(Scripture Base: Luke 10:25-37; Galatians 3:25-29; John 13:34-35)
— Pastor Vivian Horton, First Church of the Nazarene
Time to Contemplate:
- Who is your neighbor?
- Who is God inviting you to love?
- Who needs you to love them so they can know the love of God?
- What relationship in your life needs mending so the world will know you are a disciple of Christ?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I ask in Your Name for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me who my neighbor is that I need to love. Give me the strength to look past trivial details and reach out to be in relationship with my sisters and brothers in You. It is hard to forgive wrongs but help me to forgive people and to love them in the way You love me and them so they may know You and have a relationship with You. In Jesus name, Amen.