According to God’s Word, there is a great importance in loving one’s neighbor. Let’s consider that for a few moments here. Matthew 22:34-40 says,
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The Hebrew word here for “neighbor” is ray-ah. It comes from a root meaning to tend a flock, pasture — like a pastor does in a church. He feeds and watches for each member. The word’s meanings include: brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover and neighbor. The Greek meaning defines this word as neighbor, man, countryman, friend.
In the first part of this chapter (verses 1-10) Jesus answered a group of legalistic and religious leaders by speaking a parable. In essence, the meaning of the parable was that God was inviting the Jews to a big wedding. He sent his servants (the prophets of the Old Testament) to invite them, but they wouldn’t RSVP. They even ended up killing some of those messengers God had sent. Their response enraged and exasperated God to the point that in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was completely burned up and destroyed.
In turn he said to the remaining servants, “Go therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, invite them to come.” They obeyed, and they found a whole bunch of people, both bad and good, to come to the wedding. The last words of Jesus himself before returning to Heaven said to his servants were, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel (that everyone is invited).” God has something big planned and He wants everyone to be a part of it, but we have to get out there and do the inviting.
Yes, there are lots of bad and good neighbors out there waiting for a friend. Love, joy, support, understanding and help are just a few of the things a relationship with Jesus offers a person by you extending your hand and heart to a neighbor.
YOU can offer the same to a neighbor today, too.