When Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?”, He responded like this:
Luke 10:30 “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.”
This was the response of the people who came by:
1. A priest – “passed on the other side”; he was afraid he would be denied access to the church if he befriended this unclean guy.
2. A levite – an assistant to the priest; he saw him and passed by on the other side.
They saw the man as sinner, not as someone who was alone.
v. 33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion.
Jesus then answered the original question with a question of His own.
v. 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”
Neighbors operate around a core principle of humanity found in Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
Mankind was not created with just a need for God but also a need for one another.
Religion sees men and women first as sinners. The priest and levite saw the man in the ditch as someone who probably deserved what he got.
Christians have refined this message to say: People are sinners in need of a Savior. This is a true statement but before mankind had a sin problem, he had an aloneness problem.
John 5 – The Healing at Bethesda
John 5:5-7 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
The man’s problem was not that he didn’t believe he could be healed, his problem was that he was alone.
People venture into church because they are alone, not because they want to be theologically stirred. We all have a need for others.
The man of Bethesda was no different. Jesus came alongside him and said, “Get up and walk out of here!”
The Jews chastise the man for breaking the Sabbath because he carried his bed. When asked he tells them the man who healed him told him to.
Later, Jesus finds this man at the Temple.
vs. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.”
Jesus went looking for him to rejoice with him over his healing.
Then He shares this truth.
Jesus came into his aloneness first in need of a neighbor then in need of a Savior.
-Why is it so hard sometimes to be a good neighbor?
-How does seeing people as lonely before we see them as sinners change how we interact with those around us?