For The Christian, Every Man Is His Neighbour... There Can Be No Exceptions Whatever!

The parables of Jesus are rightly famous, and although there are some that are not too easy to interpret, many of them can be understood and appreciated by children, and, although they are couched in terms of the first century A.D., they are still relevant to us today; I will go further and say that they are very relevant to us today.

We think sometimes that because we live in an industrial, scientific and computerized age that life in ancient times must be totally alien to us, and, of course, that is true in a certain sense. If a citizen of the Roman Empire should come back to life and find himself at Heathrow, he would probably either die of fright or go mad. Nevertheless, in another very important sense the 21s century is no different to the first century or even since history began.

Men and women are still happy or unhappy, frustrated or fulfilled, jealous and vengeful, bored, cruel, spiteful and full of hate or kind and loving, selfish or unselfish, timid and frightened, or brave and bold; these basic human characteristics are common to all ages; and one could easily name more, ambition and desire for power for example.

An highly educated academic, for example, may be desperately unhappy, his son won’t speak to him and his wife threatens to leave him, and all the comforts the 21st century, and the affluence of his position mean nothing to him, he is accustomed to all that anyway. And you could substitute your academic for anyone you like and find that any of the things I have already mentioned could as easily be applied to them in the 21st century as in the first century.

I will go further, an Anglo-Saxon warrior, living in the eighth century, mounted on his shaggy pony, armed with dagger and spear, his life expectancy around 40 years, may well have been more fulfilled and content than a bored commuter going home to his semi in the rush hour, even if his life expectancy is nearly twice that of the Saxon Warrior; we must not judge the past by the present.

The one thing that all ages have in common is sin. Sin spoils and ruins everything; the apostle Paul puts it like this -

For I have a desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing - but the apostle has an answer - What a wrenched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! - Romans 7: 18 & 19 with 24 & 25

Because of man’s sin and the fact that the basic qualities of human nature have not changed over the centuries; Jesus’ teaching and parables are as relevant today as they ever were.

I will open my Bible at the gospel of Luke chapter 10 where we find the parable of the Good Samaritan and read -

Just then a religious scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?"

He answered, "What’s written in God’s law? How do you interpret it?

He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence - and that you love your neighbour as well as you do yourself."

"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you will live."

Looking for a loophole he asked, "And just how would you define ‘neighbour’?

Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

A Samaritan travelling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him on to his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the Innkeeper, saying, "Take good care of him. If it costs more, put it on my bill - I’ll pay you on the way back.

"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbour to the man attacked by robbers?"

"The man who treated him kindly," the religious scholar responded.

Jesus said, "God and do the same." - Luke 24 to 39 The N.T. in contemporary English, Eugene H. Peterson

This parable is as relevant today as it ever was. How many will go to great lengths to avoid any involvement, in the case of crime, or bullying, and they justify it on the grounds that it is none of their business. Or, in the case of an accident, non involvement would be justified by saying that there are plenty of others to take care of the situation, and as a very busy person I have not got the time to spare to be called as a witness etc. etc.

For the Christian, every man is his neighbour; there can be no exceptions whatever.

Jesus is, the greatest example, as the apostle Peter says -

You know what has happened throughout Judea - how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good - because God was with him - Acts 10: 37 & 38

I have quoted only one well known parable in this article, but they are all just as relevant today as they ever were, and not only the parables, but all Jesus’ exemplary teaching meets the needs of today.

Jesus is the answer to it all, and it is the same today as it was when he said - "apart from me you can do nothing" John 15: 5.

Do you really want to do good and be able to do it? Come to Jesus Christ now, confess your sin, confess your need, and put yourself into his hands, and it will mean a great and radical change in your life; the apostle John says this -

To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God - John 1: 12 & 13.

God Bless You All!!!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd