Oh Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: 2016 Gospel of Luke #40
This exposition of Luke 10:25-37 was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church by Pastor Rod Harris on Sunday morning, December 4, 2016.
In the fall of 1985 we moved from the seminary in Fort Worth to the greater Pawnee, Ralston, Skedee metroplex. In the spring of 1986 we decided we were going to try our hand at gardening. I mentioned our intention one Sunday and early the next morning a tractor pulled into our driveway and soon a large garden spot had been plowed up. I thought to myself, “That’s mighty neighborly.” Once I turned on the television and found a preacher in a pastel suit complete with a red carnation. He smiled and looking into the television said, “Howdy friends and neighbors.” I turned the channel and there was a nice pleasant man in a sweater tying his tennis shoes, singing a song, asking me to be his neighbor!
I remember visiting with a man one afternoon and as we were talking I asked him about the other folks in the neighborhood. He pointed to the north and said, with a frown, “That’s old man Johnson’s house.” Then with a big smile he pointed to the south and said that’s my neighbor’s house.” One was a neighbor the other was old man Johnson. What is the difference? Who is my neighbor?
That is the question posed to our Lord by an expert of the law. That question sparked one of our Lord’s most famous parables. A parable that sets forth in vivid color the true meaning of the word neighbor from a biblical perspective.
A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. It is the use of the common, the ordinary, and the everyday to explain or illustrate the profound. Lloyd Ogilvie calls the parables “the autobiography of God.” For the parables are God telling us what He is like. Our text this morning is found in Luke’s Gospel Luke 10 Luke 10:25-37.
Text: Luke 10:25-37
Luke with a few masterful stokes paints a vivid scene for us. I want us to look at the context, the parable, and then consider its message for us.
- The backdrop – a critical question. (10:25-29)
- The parable – an intriguing response. (10:30-37)
- The meaning for us – a valuable lesson.
As we come to determine the significance of the parable, we must remember that the purpose of a parable is to leave an impression on the hearers. Remember parables were spoken not written. The clear impression of this parable is that:
As believers, we are to actively, consistently demonstrate the love of God toward our fellow man.
Our Lord makes it clear this isn’t about others and what they do – it is about us and what we do. We are to be the neighbor of the one in need. We are not to ask if they deserve pity. We are not to determine if they are worth our time. It doesn’t matter if they are one of ours or not. We are to pursue the course of love in responding to the hurting and the needy around us.
This involves two things.
- To actively, consistently demonstrate the love of God demands that we recognize the needs of the hurting.
Open your eyes, tune your ears, and be sensitive to those around you.
- To actively, consistently demonstrate the love of God requires that we respond to the needs of the hurting.
His response was swift (34).
His response was practical (34-35).
His response was complete (35).
The ultimate good Samaritan
Of course we cannot consider this parable without considering what our Lord has done for us. He is the ultimate neighbor. He came a lot further than from across the street. He did much more than bind up our wounds and spend a few coins. He came from glory not to rescue the nearly dead but the utterly dead. He gave his life for us.