Love Self and Neighbor: Reflections on Leviticus 19: 1-2, 9-18

I trust you are understanding by now that the definition of just who the neighbor is I am to love as I love myself is made clear right here—it is the poor and the immigrant, among others who are in need of my love and caring. When Jesus springs the famous Samaritan neighbor trick on the unsuspecting lawyer, he was merely reinforcing what Leviticus had said some 500 years before; or, imagining that this material is an echo of much older ideas from deep in Israel's past, perhaps 2000 years before. Anyway, in neither case, whether among the Levitical priests or around that first-century lawyer, is the focus of the thing to be found among just how we are to love ourselves. It is about the neighbor, who the neighbor is for us, and how that neighbor is to be loved and cared for.

And so now with a confirmation of what the light of Jesus' coming means for us in his Epiphany, we are ready for some transformation, first of Jesus himself and then for us. And then Lent. We are once again on the journey to the cross and all that may mean. In the coming weeks we will turn to that journey, illuminated by the light of his glorious Epiphany.

2/16/2014 5:00:00 AM
John Holbert
About John Holbert
John C. Holbert is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX.