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Love your neighbour (as yourself)

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Presentation on theme: "Love your neighbour (as yourself)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Love your neighbour (as yourself)
Who is my neighbour? (asks the lawyer) assuming the answer will be defined and pretty manageable! Jesus responds with a parable which ends with the question: ‘who was the neighbour?’ We end up with two challenges: who is my neighbour, and what does it mean to be a neighbour?

2 Setting the scene for the parable
Jerusalem to Jericho road known as being notoriously dangerous 3600 foot drop over 20 miles. Twists, turns and rocky defiles making it easy hunting ground for brigands The scene Jesus sets would have been familiar

3 Who were the characters?
Who might the lawyer have assumed the neighbour was at the beginning of the story? The ‘man’. More than likely a Jew. Fairly reckless – road well known for muggings, nobody with any sense would travel on their own. Could easily say ‘he deserved all he got’ The Priest – fellow Jew! No doubt remembering that if he touched a dead man (and the man could easily have appeared to be dead), he would be declared unclean for 7 days (Numbers 19:11) and then he’d lose his turn of duty in the temple (probably where he was going). Levite – also a Jew. Seems to have gone nearer to the man than the priest did, before passing on. Could be fear that moved him on? Bandits known for using decoys – one would act the part of the wounded man and when unsuspecting traveller came by would attack him. Levite may have been thinking, safety first. Samaritan – not a Jew! Despised by Jews, had not dealings with them. Yet only one prepared to stop

4 Neighbours and boundaries!
Dictionary: a person or place in relation to others next or near to it Rabbis – at worst would have defined a neighbour as a fellow Jew The lawyer: wanting to make sure he had the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed…let’s just make sure I am clear. I know where my boundaries are We all like boundaries…they make us feel safe and release us from guilt!

5 Neighbours and boundaries!
The priest – had to stick to his religious rules (or boundaries). Rules came before relationship The Levite – maybe it was health and saftey boundaries for him. Safety before relationship The Samaritan – a strong boundary between Jews and Samaritans. He broke the boundary in favour of relationship What are your boundaries preventing you from getting close?

6 Neighbours and judgements!
The priest and the Levite may have justified the reactions by making a judgement: ‘he’s got what he deserved, he asked for it…..’ The surprise in the story comes when the Samaritan, despised and discriminated against by the Jews doesn’t allow their or his judgement to get in the way He shatters everyone’s preconceptions and prejudices

7 Neighbours and judgements!
Mercy and compassion says Jesus, are non discriminatory, non judgemental Prejudice is a great time saver! It allows us to form opinions without having to consider the facts or gather information There is no them and us in the kingdom of God! This story would have convicted those who were making judgements both about the Samaritan and about the traveller! When does prejudice get in the way of your being a neighbour?

8 Neighbours and feelings!!
it was compassion that motivated the Samaritan Compassion – love in action Action that is generous and often costly and or risky. We need to pay attention if we are to be compassionate…too easy to get comfortable with mess Work on our relationship with God – do we feel his compassion? Compassion crosses boundaries and cuts through judgements

9 Who is the neighbour? 2 people were the neighbours in that story!
2 missed their calling Someone who is willing to leave boundaries and judgements behind and be motivated by costly, generous, risky compassion Note the words ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ How would you like to be loved? Do you love yourself?(another day’s sermon!!)

10 The promise of eternal life
Jesus makes indiscriminate mercy, instinctive compassion and costly kindness non-negotiables in eternal life stakes (Steve Timmis) Eternal life is not just after we die. It is now! When we live as Godly neighbours to our neighbours we are demonstrating living in eternal life…the kingdom of God! Are you a Godly neighbour?

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