You are here: Home > Resources > Stories > Who’s Your Neighbor?

Who’s Your Neighbor?

One day, Jesus (and remember, Jesus was Jewish) Jesus was talking to a lawyer about the laws the Jews received from their God. Jesus asked the lawyer, "How do you understand what is written in our religious laws?"

"That's easy," replied the lawyer. "We are supposed to love our God with all our hearts and minds; and we are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves."

"Do you really believe this?" said Jesus.

"Yes," said the lawyer. "But I have a question. I'm supposed to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. But who is my neighbor?"

To answer this question, Jesus told this story:


One day, a man from Jerusalem was going from Jerusalem down to the city of Jericho. On the road, the man was ambushed by robbers. The robbers beat him up, took all his money, and even took most of his clothing. The robbers left the poor man, bruised and unable to move, lying by the side of the road.

Now by coincidence, just a little later a priest from the great Temple at Jerusalem was going down the same road. The priests were very important religious leaders, sort of like super-ministers. The priest saw the man lying there, but instead of stopping to help him, the priest looked the other way and hurried on by.

A little later, a Levite came down the same road. Levites were the official helpers of the priests of the great Temple at Jerusalem, and only a little less important. Like the priest, the Levite took one look at the poor man lying by the side of the road, looked the other way, and hurried on by.

A little later, a man from Samaria came walking along the road. Now people from Jerusalem and people from Samaria did not like each other, and when the poor bruised man from Jerusalem saw a this Samaritan walking along, he was sure the Samaritan would walk on past him just like the priest and the Levite.

But this Samaritan was moved to pity at the sight of the poor man lying by the side of the road. The Samaritan went up to him, bandaged his wounds, and poured healing oil on his wounds.

Then the Samaritan hoisted the poor man onto his donkey, brought the poor man to an inn, and looked after him. The next day, the Samaritan went to the innkeeper with some silver coins and said, "Look after that poor man until he gets better. On my way back, I'll make sure to pay you back if there's any extra expense."


That's how Jesus explained to the lawyer who our neighbors are. And that's how Jesus explained to the lawyer how to live out the belief that we should treat everyone as our neighbor.