For a Christian, all the world’s a neighbor, and “neighboring” one another is the only way to live in the neighborhood. Jesus, in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, leaves the lawyer with advice for living in the neighborhood: “Go and do likewise.” He doesn’t say: “Go and do exactly the same thing,” which would limit disciples to searching out men beaten and left for dead on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. Copycat behavior is not discipleship. But Jesus also doesn’t say: “Go and do whatever you want,” which would let the disciples do their own thing. Anything-goes behavior is also not discipleship.
Rather, Jesus challenges the lawyer to “Go and do likewise,” which dares him to neighbor everyone around him in any situation he finds himself in, acting with the same kind of gut-wrenching compassion that the Samaritan did. That’s biblical mercy in motion – and with skin.
This message is excerpted from “A story within a story,” by Martha Stortz in the March 2018 Gather magazine.
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