I always considered everyone my neighbor. My father, however, offered a different perspective of who a neighbor is according to Jesus (Yeshua) in the parable of the Good Samaritan. A parable depicts a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. The word parable in Latin reflects a comparison. Let us look at a neighbor (a person who loves) versus a non-neighbor (one who lacks compassion and mercy).
Who does Jesus say represents your neighbor? Jesus presents in the parable one choice out of three: a priest, a Levite or a Samaritan. Luke wrote about this expert lawyer in Mosaic Law seeking to test Yeshua regarding the requirements to attain eternal life. Let us look at the dialogue between a master of words (a lawyer) and the creator (Yeshua or Jesus).
Luke 10:25-37 (AMP)
25 And a certain lawyer [an expert in Mosaic Law] stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he replied, “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.” 28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this habitually and you will live.” 29 But he, wishing to justify and vindicate himself, asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
I envision Jesus chuckling to himself and then proceeds to tell him a story. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus explains to the learned lawyer the meaning of the word neighbor. So the lawyer will clearly know who to love as he loves himself to gain eternal life.
30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, who stripped him of his clothes [and belongings], beat him, and went their way [unconcerned], leaving him half dead. 31 Now by coincidence a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also came down to the place and saw him, and passed by on the other side [of the road]. 33 But a Samaritan (foreigner), who was traveling, came upon him; and when he saw him, he was deeply moved with compassion [for him], 34 and went to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them [to sooth and disinfect the injuries]; and he put him on his own pack-animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii (two days’ wages) and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I return.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to the man who encountered the robbers?” 37 He answered, “The one who showed compassion and mercy to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and constantly do the same.”
Remember the lawyer’s question: “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus says to him: Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to the man who encountered the robbers?” The articulate lawyer says: “The one who showed compassion and mercy to him.” The Samaritan showed love to the helpless man victimized on the side of the road; however, the robbers, the priest and the Levite did not exhibit love to the man left to die on the street. So Jesus helps him to understand out of all the people in the story what a neighbor is like that we should love as we love ourselves.
So who are you to love like you love yourself? Who is your neighbor or brother? People of the kingdom of God. Those that operate in love, exhibit mercy and show compassion.
You love your neighbor as yourself by honoring God’s commandments. Exodus 20:12-17 says,
12 “Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you.
13 “You shall not commit murder (unjustified, deliberate homicide).
14 “You shall not commit [c]adultery.
15 “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].
16 “You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).
17 “You shall not covet [that is, selfishly desire and attempt to acquire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”