St Philip & St James Church

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Loving our Neighbour

Connecting Christ to our Community


Luke's gospel records that a lawyer once stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" The lawyer answered him by quoting the so-called great commandment from the Old Testament. "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 Jesus said to the lawyer, "You have given the right answer, do this, and you will live."

But the lawyer pressed the point, seeking what he felt would be a precise definition that he could work with.  And so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?"

Jesus replied by telling him this familiar story. 

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, while travelling came near him, and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.' 


The story did not answer the lawyer's question directly because it refused to accept the lawyer's premise that he needed a precise definition to limit whom he should regard as his neighbour.

Having told the story, Jesus asked the lawyer his own question. "Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" The lawyer, of course, replied, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

This commandment at the end of the parable of the good Samaritan, "Go and do likewise", is arguably the basis of all Christian ethics. To be a Christian, to have life, to be justified before God, we are commanded to show mercy, following the example of the Good Samaritan and obey the commandment to love our neighbour without seeking to restrict the definition of neighbour in any way.


This section of our website describes the various ways we seek in our church to "Go and do likewise". We hope and pray that you find something here that calls to you, that prompts you to join with us in loving our neighbour.

Page last updated: Tuesday 17th March 2020 3:25 PM
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