Big Idea for Week 3: Loving our Neighbor starts with seeing them through God’s eyes…as an Imago Dei. (Latin for Image of God)
Often this parable is taken on a simply moral level: If you see a man lying on the side of the road in need, help him! But if we are to understand the true meaning behind what Jesus was saying, we must dig deeper.
To the lawyer, an expert in Jewish law, “neighbors” were considered only “Jewish neighbors.” Whereas to Jesus, a neighbor is anybody in need.
This text forces us to wrestle with how we view and value people.
It shows us that it’s not about determining who my neighbor is or who is worthy of my love, but rather Jesus is showing us that being a good neighbor is first about loving and serving others, no matter who they are.
Image IS Everything to the Father! As in all people are created with worth and value in His image. Our neighbor’s identity that we often label them with is secondary to their primary identity as a child of God.
Application of Teaching
So HOW does an understanding of the Imago Dei make us uniquely “Christian?”
1. We see our neighbors with dignity, value, and worth.
2. We see them as their primary identity, a child of God.
3. We care for them no matter who they are, because we recognize whose they are.
Practical Next Steps
Pray daily for Christ to open your eyes to truly see your neighbors as He does.
Learn the names of your neighbors on your street.
Draw a diagram of the neighbors closest to you. Put that diagram with names on your kitchen table and pray for a different neighbor every night.
Keep your eyes open for ways to practically love and serve your neighbors.