Scripture: Luke 10:15-37
ICE BREAKER: Who is the best neighbor you have ever had?
Our mission at MetaChurch is to do Whatever It Takes to get people to Jesus!
During Jesus' time, the Jewish community around him had grown very inward focused. They were not interested in being close with the neighboring nations and even held deep prejudice against them. That context made Jesus' encounter with a young lawyer even more significant.
The young man wanted Jesus to tell him how to inherit eternal life. The answer was to love God AND to love your neighbor. This is when the young man asked a very significant question: WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?
To answer, Jesus told the parable of a man who was robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. A Jewish priest came down the road and left him for dead. Then, a Jewish Levite did the same thing.
Finally, a Samaritan came down the road. What you have to understand is the Jews and Samaritans HATED each other! There was bad blood that went back for generations. To a Jewish person, a Samaritan would never be considered a "neighbor." However, it was the Samaritan who helped the man that had been left for dead.
When have you been surprised by the kindness of someone you had misjudged?
Jesus then asked the young lawyer who had acted as a neighbor and he had to admit it was the Samaritan. Jesus simply instructed: "go, and do the same." The message is clear, we are to love and serve EVEN those we most disagree with or dislike.
The Priest and Levite - both religious leaders - did not stop to lend a hand to their own countryman. So often the church has fallen into this same pattern! Too busy and self-important to actually reach the people most desperate for hope. Too often we define our neighbors by those who make us comfortable. We see our social circle as only those we are inclined to give time and access too.
Being a neighbor is not about who is close to us - Jesus said it is up to us to get close to others! The Samaritan had compassion - a greek word that means to be eaten up on the inside.
What is something that eats you up?
What breaks your heart enough to move you to action?
Who/what do you struggle to have sympathy or empathy for?
Proximity is key to having Compassion. We must be willing, as the church, to go out and make ourselves neighbors to those around us. That is what Jesus has called us to do!
HERE IS THIS WEEK'S APPLICATION QUESTION:
What is ONE WAY you will be a neighbor to someone you struggle to get along with this week?
Remember, your proximity will lead to compassion. Compassion will lead you to action!
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the people you have disqualified as your neighbor. Ask Jesus to fill you with Compassion and care for those around you. Speak out your commitment to do Whatever It Takes to get people to Jesus