A Pharisee once tried to test Jesus after asking Him what the greatest of the commandment was. The Pharisee asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Instead of giving a direct answer, Jesus Christ turned the question on the Pharisee by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man who was attacked by robbers on the road to Jericho. He was stripped of his clothes, beaten, and was left for dead. Soon after, a priest was passing by the same road and when he saw the man, he went to the other side of the road and continued on his way. A Levite then passed by, and he too moved to the other side of the road when he saw the man. But a Samaritan came by and when he saw the man, he took pity on him, poured oil and wine on his wounds, carried him on his donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him there. The following day he gave the innkeeper two denarii and asked him to look after the man, adding that when he returns, he will compensate the innkeeper for any extra expense he may have. After telling the story Jesus asked the Pharisee which he thought among the three was a neighbor to the man who was robbed to which the Pharisee replied, “The man who showed mercy.” Jesus then told the Pharisee to go and do likewise.
In Jesus’ commandment, He taught us that it is not about asking who our neighbor is. Rather, it is about our own willingness to be a neighbor ready to love. It is obvious in the parable of the Good Samaritan that our neighbor can even be a complete stranger who we can expect nothing from in return. But, following the commandment of Christ means being a neighbor to everyone, and most importantly it is about us being that good neighbor. It starts with ourselves.