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Sermon of the week: It’s a familiar story
by Rev. Gary Conklin, Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church
Jul 14, 2013 | 425 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The scripture I would like to focus on this week is from Luke: 25-37. This is of course a story (“The Good Samaritan”) that most of us have heard many times in our life. Even though we have heard this story many times, do we really stop and take the time to understand what this scripture and story from Jesus is telling us? Just what does this story have to do with us in the 21st century?

We have in our text an important person asking Jesus some hard questions. One of the questions is “who is my neighbor?” This is when Jesus answers with our familiar parable. This is one of the simplest and noblest among all the wonderful parables in our Gospels. Love it tells us, must know no limits of race, nationality, religion, denomination, male or female. It does not ask any questions. Jesus tells us in this story that the one who needs me is my neighbor period!! Whom at the given time and place I can help with my active love, that person is my neighbor and I am his.

You see this important person asking the question was trying to justify himself when he ask Jesus these questions, so we should have expected an answer from Jesus like: “Your neighbor is anyone who needs your help. After this answer however the emphasis of the story changes to the person that is doing the helping. The story switches to the person that showed the compassion. It is really an answer to the question of “How can I act as a good neighbor? Whose neighbor am I?

Where today do you find yourself in this story? Are you the neighbor that needs the help? Are you one of the important people that have no time to stop and help? Are you the one that shows true compassion on a complete stranger because they need help? Sometimes we have all taken on the role of all of the characters in this story. The sad part is that we think we are too busy to stop and help or we look at the person needing help and we make all kinds of judgments and therefore make a choice not to show compassion. We are all good at judging others but we get very defensive if others judge us. We want help from others when we need help, but we judge others or don’t want to take time out to help when they need help.

We all need to go back and study this story from scripture, and gain a true understanding about whom it is that is our neighbor and how we can be compassionate neighbors to others. Jesus tells us also in this parable that we are not to ask all kinds of questions before we help, we are to just help!!

Finally as Christians this is not a choice. Go back to the beginning of these verses, Jesus commands us: “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself”. So Then for us today the question is the same “just who is my neighbor?”
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