Jesus was often being questioned, and many tried to trick and test Him. One such was the lawyer who asked, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”(Luke 10:25)… And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27…But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29
Jesus responded by sharing the parable of the Good Samaritan. (See Luke 10) The Lawyer sought to narrow the scope of the definition of neighbor – Jesus broadened the scope of the definition of neighbor. Jesus did not define neighbor as someone we live near or even someone we know but rather anyone with whom we cross paths.
God commands that we love our neighbor.
God commands that we love our enemy.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…Matthew 5:43-44
I was thinking about this verse recently. I wonder why someone in the crowd or one of the disciples didn’t ask, “And who is my enemy?” Our enemy could be someone that we see embodies evil. But couldn’t my enemy also be simply someone I am odds with? Someone that I tend to avoid? Someone I don’t see eye to eye with? Whoever it is, Jesus calls me to love them.
When we really think about it – neighbor or enemy – we are commanded to love everyone. There are no passes, no loop-holes.
The only way we can possible love like that is by the power of the Spirit of God living and loving through us.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11
The world needs this kind of love. The world needs to see Jesus-kind of love in us so that they may see Jesus through us.
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.