We all are tempted to define “neighbor” so we don’t have too much discomfort in our lives. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the young Jewish leader wants to feel good about his life. He tries to justify his own goodness, leading to a very uncomfortable story from Jesus.
NT Wright has this application to the parable:
What is at stake, then and now, is the question of whether we will use the God-given revelation of love and grace as a way of boosting our own sense of isolated security and purity, or whether we will see it as a call and challenge to extend that love and grace to the whole world. No church, no Christian, can remain content with easy definitions which allow us to watch most of the world lying half-dead in the road. Today’s preachers, and today’s defenders of the gospel, must find fresh ways of telling the story of God’s love which will do for our day what this brilliant parable did for Jesus’ first hearers.
Wright, T. (2004). Luke for Everyone (p. 129). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Too often the temptation is to choose isolated security and purity. The bigger challenge is to see the vision of Jesus.