What does it mean to love your neighbor?

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A moment ago, I knew Easter was only six days away (from today).

But as I write this, I’m realizing “OH! That means Good Friday is just four days away, and I’ve had my head in the clouds thinking only about attending Easter service this weekend.” ‘Tis a blessing to be reminded, that there is a lot more reflection & reverence to be had than just on Sunday!

This being the celebration of holy week, I thought it would be a good time to look on the examples Jesus set for truly loving others as ourselves.

Of course, the choice Jesus made to go through with God’s plan—to give Himself on the cross as a living sacrifice for all sinners—is the ultimate act of love! Thinking for even a second on the pain and humilation He endured, both leading up to and actually ON the cross, is enough to put me in awe of how much Jesus loves us.

But before the cross, what did Jesus do and say regarding the practical ways that we too can love others? The Gospels are full of things Jesus did, like his kind acceptance and blessing on the sinner-woman who poured expensive perfume on his feet in Luke 7:36-50.

The one I’d like to focus on here, though, is the parable of the Good Samaritan: An awesome story of kindness and care, given by a stranger to someone who couldn’t repay him for it (at least at the time).

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” [Luke 10:30-37]

The things that most jump out at me here, are the words “took pity on him” and “had mercy on him”, and what Jesus said: “God and do likewise.”

SO: When was the last time you did something nice for a stranger, or helped someone in need who could never repay your kindness?

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