Would You Like Migrants As Your Neighbours?
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “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 neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” – Luke 10:25-
So, there's this story from back in the day, you know, like 2000 years ago, when a lawyer thought he could stump Jesus with a tricky question. He was all like, "Hey Jesus, who's my neighbour, huh?" They'd been talking about inheriting eternal life and following the Law, so this was his curveball. And Jesus, being the story-telling genius that he was, told him this parable to answer his sneaky question.
Picture this: Jews and Samaritans, not exactly BFFs at the time, were at odds. So, Jesus used that tension to make his point. People back then thought it was a no-brainer that a Samaritan wouldn't give a hoot about a dying Jew, but a priest or Levite, who should totally know better, would help, right? Well, surprise, surprise! The Good Samaritan turned out to be the hero of the story. He actually followed the Jewish Law's principles and helped the injured man.
You see, some folks tend to go all aggressive and violent when they're dealing with folks from different groups. They let their biases and prejudices run wild and it's like they're seeing enemies everywhere. But hold up, the Bible's got a different idea – it's all about treating everyone like they're your neighbour.
Back in the day, that lawyer tried to put Jesus in a corner with his question about neighbours. But Jesus wasn't having it. The lawyer was basically asking, "Who can I ignore and not care about?" Sneaky, right? Jesus hit back with a story about a guy who got beat up by thieves and left to die. First, a priest strutted by, pretending he didn't see the dude. Then, a Levite did the same dodge. These were folks who should've helped. Enter the Samaritan – the last person you'd expect to help, given the whole Jews vs. Samaritans feud. But guess what? He steps up, does the right thing, and earns the title of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus turns everything around by asking, "Who was the real neighbour here?" And the lawyer, probably feeling a bit sheepish, says, "The one who showed mercy." Mic drop. Jesus wraps it up with a simple, "Go and do the same." Basically, he's saying, be a good neighbour, no matter who's in front of you. Loving your neighbour means showing kindness, just like the Samaritan did.
Martin Luther King Jr., a wise man in his own right, once talked about this parable. He figured that the priest and Levite were probably asking, "What's in it for me if I stop?" But the Samaritan? He asked, "What if I don't stop? What happens to this guy?"
From Jesus' perspective, a neighbour is anyone who shows mercy, anyone who helps someone in need. And that ‘someone’ can be anybody who crosses our path. The point of the parable is that loving one's neighbour transcends all racial and cultural boundaries.
As God’s people, we should show love and care for the migrants in our midst. Once we too were strangers alienated from God (Col. 1:21), but God reconciled us through Christ (2 Cor. 5:18). Having been strangers once, we should be grateful for what God has done for us and care for the strangers. Through hospitality, Christians can be Christ’s presence in the migrant community.
Let us pray.
I am grateful for Your unwavering love that embraces me despite my shortcomings. I humbly request Your guidance in extending a similar love to my neighbours, as You so graciously show to me. Grant me the ability to perceive my neighbours through Your compassionate gaze. Illuminate practical pathways through which I can offer them assistance, enabling me to reflect the love of Jesus through my actions. Help me relinquish my personal priorities, allowing me to love them unconditionally, meeting them in their present circumstances, and embracing them with the depth of Your divine affection.
In Jesus holy name, I offer this prayer, AMEN