To Whom are you a Friend and a Neighbor?

The question is not, “who is my neighbor?”; Jesus is interested in “whose neighbor are you?”
48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying,“The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Matt 26:48-50

Judas was not a friend to Jesus but Jesus was a friend to Judas. When we treat someone as a friend, as Jesus did here saying, “friend, do what you came to do”, we are being a friend to them irrespective of their friendliness or fraudulence.

Whose neighbor are you?

In the parable of the good Samaritan, we see by Jesus’ answer to the lawyer, that the lawyer had the wrong question asking, “and who is my neighbor?”

We can see, by the answer Jesus gave, that the lawyer was playing tricks with words and shifting the focus off of his own heart. Jesus made it clear that the real question is, “whose neighbor are you?”  See Luke 10:36 & 37 below in the parable.

Parable of the Good Samaritan

(Luke 10:25 [AKJV])
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

(Luke 10:26 [AKJV])
He said to him, What is written in the law? how read you?

(Luke 10:27 [AKJV])
And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

(Luke 10:28 [AKJV])
And he said to him, You have answered right: this do, and you shall live.

(Luke 10:29 [AKJV])
But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

(Luke 10:30 [AKJV])
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

(Luke 10:31 [AKJV])
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

(Luke 10:32 [AKJV])
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

(Luke 10:33 [AKJV])
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

(Luke 10:34 [AKJV])
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

(Luke 10:35 [AKJV])
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever you spend more, when I come again, I will repay you.

(Luke 10:36 [AKJV])
Which now of these three, think you, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves?

(Luke 10:37 [AKJV])
And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus to him, Go, and do you likewise.

So we see that although the lawyer asked, “who is my neighbor”, Jesus asked, “Which now of these three, think you, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves?”

Jesus, by this parable, answered the question that should have been asked and then actually asked the right question, making it abundantly clear that what matters is, that we are a neighbor to others, not that we have rules as to who our neighbor is.

In another place, Jesus equated being perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect with loving all men equally, for the Father brings rain upon the just and the unjust.

(Matthew 5:43 [AKJV])
You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.

(Matthew 5:44 [AKJV])
But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;

(Matthew 5:45 [AKJV])
That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

(Matthew 5:46 [AKJV])
For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?

(Matthew 5:47 [AKJV])
And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?

(Matthew 5:48 [AKJV])
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We have a promise that we may become the sons of God, the children of God through faith in Christ which results in being born of God, or “born again”; thereby, we ought to live as Jesus lived, treating others with the same love Christ treats us who were enemies of God (Romans 8:7), even as while we were yet sinners, enemies of God, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

(John 1:12 [AKJV])
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

(John 1:13 [AKJV])
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

When we are born again, we have the Spirit of God sanctifying us and enabling us and giving us a propensity toward Godliness that we would not otherwise have. We must exercise these traits by deliberate effort, knowing that we have the power of the Spirit of God to grow into His likeness.

(2 Peter 1:1 [AKJV])
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:

(2 Peter 1:2 [AKJV])
Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

(2 Peter 1:3 [AKJV])
According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue:

(2 Peter 1:4 [AKJV])
Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

(2 Peter 1:5 [AKJV])
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

(2 Peter 1:6 [AKJV])
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

(2 Peter 1:7 [AKJV])
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

(2 Peter 1:8 [AKJV])
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 1:9 [AKJV])
But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

(2 Peter 1:10 [AKJV])
Wherefore the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:

(2 Peter 1:11 [AKJV])
For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 1:12 [AKJV])
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.

(Romans 8:29 [AKJV])
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

(Romans 8:30 [AKJV])
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

(Romans 8:31 [AKJV])
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

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