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TrueWitness
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Joined: 2006/8/10
Posts: 522


 Who is my neighbor? by Watchman Nee

This story is one of the most common and familiar stories in the church. It would be good for us to read it together: "Jesus, taking up the question, said, A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who having both stripped him and beat him, went away, leaving him half dead. And by coincidence a certain priest was going down on that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. And likewise also a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the opposite side. But a certain Samaritan, who was journeying, came upon him; and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion; and he came to him and bound up his wounds and poured oil and wine on them. And placing him on his own beast, he brought him to an inn and took care of him. And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, Take care of him; and whatever you spend in addition to this, when I return, I will repay you. Which of these three, does it seem to you, has become a neighbor to him who fell into the hands of the robbers?"

The lawyer asked the Lord, "Who is my neighbor?" After the Lord told him this story, He replied to the lawyer with a question, "Which of these three, does it seem to you, has become a neighbor to him who fell into the hands of the robbers?" If you listen carefully to this word, you will realize that the Lord is telling the lawyer that he was the one who fell into the hands of the robbers.

Many today apply this passage incorrectly. They think that the Lord Jesus wants us to love our neighbor as ourself. Whether it is the Bible schools, the Sunday schools, or the Sunday pulpits, they all tell people that one has to be a good Samaritan. You have to love your neighbors, to show mercy to them, and to help them. To them, who is the neighbor? It is the one who was wounded by the robbers. And who are we? We are the good Samaritan. But this is exactly the opposite of what the Lord Jesus was saying. What the Lord meant was that we are the ones wounded by the robbers. Who then is our neighbor? Our neighbor is the good Samaritan. We think that we are the good Samaritan. We can move. We can walk. When we see those bound by sin, we are able to help them. But the Lord Jesus said that we are not the good Samaritan. Rather, we need the good Samaritan. We are the man wounded by robbers on the journey. We are those who are waiting to die. We do not have any good works. Who is our neighbor? He is the good Samaritan. What is it to love our neighbor as ourselves? It does not say that we have to love others as ourselves. It means that we have to love the Savior as ourselves. It does not mean that we must first love others before we can inherit eternal life. Rather, it means that if we love the Savior, the Samaritan, we will surely have eternal life.

The problem today is that man continually thinks of works. When he reads Luke 10, he says to himself: "Someone is wounded. Someone is dying. If I care for him and love him, I will be a good Samaritan, and I will have eternal life." We think that when we help others, we will inherit eternal life. But the Lord Jesus said if you allow someone to help you, you will have eternal life. None among us is qualified to be the good Samaritan. Thank the Lord, we do not have to be the good Samaritan. We have a good Samaritan already. This Samaritan, who formerly had no dealings with us, has now come. He has died and has solved the problem of our sins. He is now resurrected, and He has given us a new life. This One has bound up our wounds. He has given us redemption. He is helping us and is bringing us to heaven, that God would accept us and care for us.

Finally, we have verse 37: "And he said, The one who showed mercy to him." This time the lawyer answered correctly. He answered that it is the One who showed mercy to him. The One who shows mercy to me is my neighbor. My neighbor is the Samaritan who stopped to bind up my wounds with the oil and the wine, who put me on the beast and brought me to the inn. My friends, the whole question is not to be the neighbor of someone else. Rather, it is the One who showed mercy to you becoming your neighbor.

The Lord Jesus said, "Go, and you do likewise." This word confuses many people. They think that the Lord is telling us to help others. But what this word means is that your neighbor is the good Samaritan. Therefore you should accept Him as your Savior. Since your neighbor is the good Samaritan, you must be the one wounded by the robbers. This shows us that while we were lying there, He came and saved us. Never say that we can do anything ourselves. Never say that we have the way. He is showing us that we have to let Him do everything. We have to let Him pour the oil and the wine on our wounds. We have to let Him bind up our wounds. We have to let Him put us up on the beast and bring us to the inn. We have to let Him do the work of taking care of us. We have to be like the one wounded. We do not have to be like the Samaritan. Man's greatest failure is to think that he should do something. Man always wants to be his own savior. He always wants to save others. But God has not appointed us to be the savior. God says that we are the ones to be saved.

 2009/8/18 10:12Profile









 Re: Who is my neighbor? by Watchman Nee

This interpretation doesn't seem to jive with other similar commands by Christ. There is a clear difference between 'God' and neighbor in

Mark 12:29

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e]

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[f]

The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[g]There is no commandment greater than these."

God and neighbor are mutually exclusive here.

Scripture is clear that if we 'help the least of these' we are helping Him. The problem I see today is that cheap grace of the mainstream church says: "by faith ask Jesus into your heart" and live the rest of your life the way you want. Many unsaved believe that works will bring eternal life but many of the 'faith' camp would rather prosper than give or help. It's all about them. I think the two priests are a type for our chruch today.... like the man Lazarus who ignored the helpless man at the front door. To me, those who believe that salvation is through works are ignorant of salvation in their works... where as the so called 'saved' church is just lazy and apathetic in the revelation of works being a 'fruit of the Spirit'. The priests, by profession and character, were supposedly 'Godly men' who represented the church at the time. If the wounded man was the church then what was symbolic about the priests???

Scripture says that love will grow cold in the last days and I think the two priests represented that love gone cold. As a church we can't do anything of ourselves and we do need Jesus to be our 'all in all'. But I don't see scripture in the same way Nee does in this scenario.

 2009/8/18 15:02









 Re:

I think this is an unusual interpretation of this parrable. I am not sure that Nee would be dogmatic about it. It certainly strikes a blow to legalism and to those who believe that they can in any way be sanctified by works. Maybe this was what Nee had in mind when he wrote this? I do agree with Nee, it is offensive to most people to be the recipient of help rather than the giver of help. Pride is a roaring lion seeking to devour where it can..........Frank

 2009/8/18 15:13
Koheleth
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Joined: 2005/11/10
Posts: 530
NC

 Re: Who is my neighbor? by Watchman Nee

I really like this telling by Nee and I think in turning the sense around he makes some great points, but I still think the primary interpretation is "go and do likewise" meaning like the Samaritan.

 2009/8/18 16:33Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470
Mississippi

 Re: Who is my neighbor? by Watchman Nee

I find this interpretation very disturbing. The reason is that Nee is twisting the entire story to mean something Jesus was not saying. It is an inverted method of interpretation, if you want to call it that. What it does is it will intimidate others from reading the scriptures because they will think they do NOT know how to interpret it correctly and so one needs learned scholars to interpret the WORD for you. NOT SO! When God spoke to people, he spoke clearly and said exactly what he meant and there was never a lack of understanding or any hidden meanings. One does not need a skilled scholar to understand God's word. So, to me this method of interpretation is very dangerous.

I have told one of our pastors that "you preachers sure have a knack of confusing, complicating the simplest [Biblical] thing." He admitted this to be true. This is a prime example of one doing just that.

My thoughts,
ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2009/8/19 9:48Profile
Christinyou
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Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3697
Ca.

 Re: Who is my neighbor? by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee is not the only one.

Gaebelein's Annoted Bible

Verses 25-37. The lawyer's question leads to the utterance of the parable of the good Samaritan, to answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" The parable answers the question fully, but it also contains the most blessed Gospel truths. Jerusalem is the city of God; Jericho represents the world. The traveller is the type of humanity. Man has fallen in the awful road which leads down, fallen among thieves, naked, wounded, helpless and hopeless. The failure of the Priest and the scribe to help illustrates the inability of the law and the ordinances to save man out of his deplorable condition. The good Samaritan is the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to the place where the lost are and He alone could have compassion on him. The wine typifies His precious blood He shed to save us. The oil is the type of the Holy Spirit, who applies the blood. He takes care of fallen man found by Him. The inn is typical of the church, where the Lord through His Spirit cares for His own. The two pence are not typical of "two sacraments" but speak of the reward, which those receive, who, under the Holy Spirit, care for souls. The promised coming again with a greater reward offered is the Second Coming of our Lord. The Gospel of the Manhood records this parable exclusively. end;



"Go and do likewise"

Tell all that Jesus is the Good Samaritan and will bind up our lethal wounds if left untreated.
Do you believe, "Whom do you say that I am"

In Christ: Phillip


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Phillip

 2009/8/19 13:27Profile
Koheleth
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Joined: 2005/11/10
Posts: 530
NC

 Re:

Ginny and Philip, I did not find Nee's spiritualization of the passage to be wrong, as long as no one would insist it is the primary application of the passage. Most people interpret some the parables of Matthew 13 in the opposite way I tend to think Jesus intended them. In either case, I have found both flows of thought edifying. But, anyone who would say the primary application of the Good Samaritan is that we are the beaten man and Jesus is the Samaritan has had too much seminary.

 2009/8/19 17:23Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470
Mississippi

 Re: Who is my neighbor? by Watchman Nee

I also think the logic of Nee's reasoning is seriously flawed:

Quote:
"Someone is wounded. Someone is dying. If I care for him and love him, I will be a good Samaritan, and I will have eternal life."



The lawyer asked Jesus what He can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus' reply was "what is written in the law? how readest thou?" Luke 10:26.

The lawyer said "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind and thy neighbor as thyself." Luke 10:27.

If these principles are operating in the life of the believer he will not be thinking that his good deeds will earn him eternal life because he will know where his salvation comes from. He will not be given to idolatry. He will follow the Lamb wheresoever He goeth and that will include helping the guy in the ditch which this fine rich lawyer was prone to leave alone. And who knows? Maybe this lawyer was the fellow who actually did see this guy in the ditch and he walked on by...

This inverted method of interpretation is the method used by liberals to dismiss plain teaching of the WORD and we all lament where those folks are. They twist and ignore plain scripture to suit their own fanciful schemes. They will declare that Jesus or Paul did not mean it this way, or that but another way. They can confuse you to no end. And that is what spiritualizing does. While Nee's interpretation does no violence to Biblical principles, it is the method Nee used to arrive at his interpretation of this scripture that is so very dangerous.

Folks also use this method to interpret Revelation and it has spooked folks from delving into the book to see what it can teach us. As result of this, many have lost a blessing because they think they cannot understand the vision that was given to John because even the experts will argue and debate about it. And they know more then we do, don't they?

We cannot allow this inverted method of Biblical interpretation to teach us how we approach the WORD. This is my primary concern.

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2009/8/19 18:57Profile









 Re:

HI Ginnyrose, I think you are being a wee bit tough on Nee :) I am pretty sure he was not a Liberal trying to twist the Words of Scripture :) You may not like his interpretation, but it is pretty plain to see what he is driving at, even if he is using the wrong vehicle :)

I am not so sure either that the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus are plain enough that everyone could understand them, even his disciples did not understand His parrables and He had to explain them to them. Now, what I would say is that all those who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, will have the Scriptures opened up to them, He wil illuminate them, He will lead us and guide us into all Truth, no doubt. There is no doubt that we cannot earn our salvation, neither can we earn our sanctification, which is maybe what he is driving at. And, there is no doubt that we could identify with the man beaten and left for dead, for Spiritualy, we too were dead by the roadside when Jesus came into the Highways and byways. He did rescue us from eternal death and He did bind up our wounds, He did pay the price. I still agree with you though that using that parrable to convey that message is a bit of a stretch........Frank

 2009/8/19 20:16
White_Stone
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Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 1196
North Central Florida

 Re:

Hello Frank,

Quote:
even his disciples did not understand His parables and He had to explain them to them.



Isn't it possible that their needing to have the parables explained to them was for our benefit, too? Although I do believe He said the peoples eyes and ears were blocked from understanding to fulfill God's purpose.

Kind regards,
white stone


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Janice

 2009/8/19 21:41Profile





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