Tom Hanks saw some Oscar buzz for his portrayal of PBS TV icon Fred Rogers. Today’s children identify more with the tune to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. But back in the day, it was “a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” While wearing a red sweater and a pair of sneakers, Mr. Rogers would ask the viewers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Being a Methodist minister, one would like to think Mr. Rogers asked that question based off Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus told this parable to an expert in the law who had asked, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). The religious rulers like this man tended to only love and care about people in their inner circle.
This is why in Jesus’ parable the priest and Levite walked on by the hurt man without helping him. The only help came from an enemy to the Jews. Jesus wants us to think about how we treat our neighbors. Do we show love to the person sitting alone at lunch? Do we join in the jokes at another’s expense? Do we judge those who dress differently than us? God’s law is simply summed up like this: Love God and love others as you love yourself.
We often tend to love our inner circle and ourselves more. Thankfully Jesus is the best neighbor ever. He showed love by taking our place on a cross and taking our sins on himself.
This love is what motivates us to say, show, and sing to all, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”