Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
A lawyer here is an expert in God’s law. The Torah and all of supporting material. There is no separation of “church and state” in his culture. The law covers all aspects of a persons responsibilities. He is testing Jesus’s understanding of what is required to receive approval from God. When Jesus asks him what he thinks the law requires, the lawyer responds with “love God and love your neighbour as yourself”. Jesus approves. But Jesus pushes it further when the lawyer asks who his neighbour is. This is where we hear the story of “The Good Samaritan”. Being a neighbour is not about proximity. It’s about mercy and love. Eternal life and mercy for others are linked together.