The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” – Luke 10:29


As used in this context, your neighbor means “someone near.” God has positioned near us all kinds of people with all kinds of needs. By showing love and generosity to such people, we are fulfilling one of the greatest commandments.

The children of Israel were told to treat a runaway slave as a neighbor and to give him refuge (Deuteronomy 23:15). They were also told not to barge into a neighbor’s house to take an article for collateral. They were to let the person bring it out to them, and if the neighbor was poor and had only a cloak for collateral, they could not keep it overnight. In addition, they were told to leave intentional harvests of wheat, olives, and grapes for the poor (Deuteronomy 24:10-13,19-21).

The generosity of the Good Samaritan to his “neighbor,” someone who was near, distinguished his true religion from the selfish religion of the Levite and priest (Luke 10:25-35). Likewise, Jesus’ commandment to us is “Now go and do the same” (v. 37).

We complicate our religion when we think of it as distant and difficult. In fact, it is near—as near as a neighbor in need. If we focus our love and generosity on neighbors in need, God will meet our own needs in return.


The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” – Luke 10:29




The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” – Luke 10:29




As the time drew near for his return to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. – Luke 9:51

Jesus set for His disciples the example of a resolute life. He was determined to accomplish His purpose for coming to this earth. He tolerated no double-mindedness in His followers. He wanted them to be determined, resolved, bold, and steady. He challenged them to totally cast aside their comforts, worldly desires, and ties to family (both living and dead) in order to put their hands to the “gospel plow.”

In order to follow Him, His disciples needed to be like Him. In the final days of His life, He issued two simple commands to them: “come” and “go.” First, he commanded, “Come, be my disciple” (Luke 9:59), encouraging them to imitate His example of resolve. Next, he challenged them, saying, “Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). The disciples were given clear instruction to waste no time on greetings along the way or in lingering in towns that rejected the gospel message.

Time is of the essence when the harvest is ripe and a storm is approaching. Similarly, there is a spiritual harvest of souls waiting to be reaped. We must leave behind earthly distractions and work passionately for God, like Jesus did, recognizing that “there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end” (John 9:4).

The Law commanded, “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together” (Deuteronomy 22:10). If you hook up to the gospel plow, don’t mix with the wrong company. Be single-minded and resolute, straining “to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:14).

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