Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 April 2021 Matthew 22:39.

Matthew 22:39.     ​And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.


Moving on…Moving on! Thank God we’re moving on! Yes friends, we’re moving on with Jesus through another marvellous day in the annals of our lives! Wow! And what a joy and pleasure it is to be moving through life with Jesus! A body couldn’t ask for a better companion, a better Lord and Saviour, a better friend, a better neighbour than Jesus! And it’s that last accolade, the topic of neighbours that I want to discuss with us today, because it’s a very important part of our faith, and I don’t think we are being as neighbourly as we ought to. 

So, I guess our first question should be, who is our neighbour? Now what did Jesus have to say about that eh? Remember when the foppish, arrogant lawyer tried to test Jesus by asking: ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt LOVE 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 neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:36-40) 

That’s Matthew’s version. However, Luke tells it thus. (smile) The lawyer asked Jesus, ‘Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He, (Jesus) said unto him, what is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said’ – exactly what Jesus said above. ‘And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he (the lawyer), willing (wanting) to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 

And Jesus answering’, told them the parable of the Good Samaritan, which we all know. At the end of the parable, Jesus asks the lawyer, ‘Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves (robbers)? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10:25-37) 

Yuh see that friends, being neighbourly is basically showing mercy, kindness, LOVE and all the other fruit of the spirit to those around us. But no, it’s not easy with all the negative, angry and cantankerous people that we encounter. But it does get a tad easier if we have the first commandment truly embedded in our hearts, since all LOVE flows from revering our heavenly Father. 

And I like how the scholars explain it. ‘10:37. The lawyer cannot even bring himself to say “the Samaritan.” That’s because of the deep racial hatred between the two groups, although they were related by blood; the Samaritans being Jews who intermarried with Gentiles. ‘However, Jesus shows that racial considerations are utterly transcended by God’s commands to LOVE Him, and thus to LOVE others as He does, without prejudice or partiality.’ Hn! I truly wish that somebody or bodies could get that message across to our world right now yes; a world that’s so inundated with prejudice and partiality, that it’s behind almost every action we take! 

Now, before we get to the meat of our topic, I want to point out one other important aspect of being neighbourly, and that’s Jesus’ warning on the way His Father’s kingdom works. ‘Judge (condemn) not, that ye be not judged (condemned). For with what judgement (condemnation) ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete (use), it shall be measured to you again.’ (Matt. 7:1-2) That’s just to remind us that what we sow we will reap, or as Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow, more than you sow and later than you sow.’ That means we can’t sow negative seed and expect to reap a positive harvest. 

And all of that finally brings us to the wise and wonderful words of Cousin Sol on the treatment of neighbours from Proverbs. Just a bit more practical advice to help us handle all the cerebral stuff we’ve been talking about. (smile) Cousin Sol begins thus: ‘Withhold not good from them to whom it is due (the owners), when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.’ (Prov. 3:27-28) Oh my people, how often do we do that eh! Holding on to what rightfully belongs to others, until we are good and ready to give it to them is ever so rampant in our current society; which means selfishness and greed are too prevalent. 

And Cousin Sol continues: ‘Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by (in safety with) thee. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.’ (Prov. 3:30-31) And I don’t know if our world has ever seen such unnecessary animosity and strife between people who live close to each other, even between families and so-called friends, as we are seeing today. The petty squabbles that occur over unimportant things is mind blowing, And the courts are full of foolish litigation over petty peeves. The divorce rate is sky high, possibly higher than it’s ever been! We’ve become so adversarial and antagonistic to each other that it’s causing our world to fall apart. 

But listen further to Cousin Sol. ‘Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward (the perverse person) is abomination to the Lord: but his secret (secret council) is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation (dwelling) of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly (humble).’ (Prov. 3:31-34) 

Yes friends, I know we all envy the prosperous wicked some, but it’s unwise to follow in their footsteps, for it’s said in so many places of the Good Book that the wicked and their evil deeds will eventually be destroyed and what they have given to the righteous. So please, please, let’s not live merely for today’s pleasures and aggrandizement nuh, but seriously contemplate what will most profit us in the long run, what will put us in good stead with Jesus. 

And this last word of warning from Cousin Sol is indeed precious. ‘The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion (the legacy) of fools.’ (Prov. 3:35) And the scholars break it all down this way. ‘3:27-35. The needy neighbour is to be helped (vs. 27-28); the innocent neighbour is to be respected and left alone (vs. 29-30); and the wicked neighbour is not to be envied (vs. 31-35).’ That makes it oh so simple my brethren! So please let’s be wise nuh, so that we can inherit the glory that’s Jesus! 

And for those of us who have made that momentous and wise decision, let’s go home now proclaiming our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And in these tough and trying times, we need to be reminded that if we endure to the end, our future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Wow! What an awesome promise mih people! So let’s hang in there till the end nuh! Much LOVE!

…it is much better to give…than to receive…wise men seek to give…but fools crave to receive… 

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