|Jacopo Bassano, The Good Samaritan, via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain|
In Luke 10, we read the story of the Good Samaritan. And though I've heard this story over and over again in my life, this last time I went through it, I noticed something new.
I noticed that the question the lawyer asks Jesus ("Who is my neighbor?") is not quite the same question that Jesus asks back at the end of the parable ("Who was a neighbor?", or, "which of these . . . proved to be a neighbor . . .?")
The Lawyer's Question
The lawyer asks a question that requires no action on his part, if that makes sense. He's not asking who he is, he's asking who other people are to him.
But - and I'd never quite noticed this before - Jesus doesn't answer his question. Not exactly. Jesus doesn't tell him, exactly, who his neighbor is.
Jesus tells him about a man choosing to be a neighbor.
In other words, the lawyer asks, "How do I know which people are my neighbors?"
And Jesus says, "By what fruit is a neighbor known?"
The Command, and it's not just for the lawyer, but also for us . . .
And then, of course, "Go thou, and do likewise."
Peace of Christ to you,