On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ – Luke 10:25-29
We have an expert in the law who’s asking Jesus an interesting question. What is at the heart of this question? The expert in the law is not an expert in the law like a lawyer, but he is an expert in the Hebrew Scriptures. He is extremely familiar with the scriptures and the Torah – books like Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And so, this expert in the law, who’s an expert in the Hebrew Scriptures, asks Jesus a question about these scriptures. And he does it not because he wants to know Jesus’ opinion, but because he wants to test Jesus.
This is why he asks, “Well, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, as he so often does, turns the question back around and asks the man to answer his own question. In essence, Jesus says, “Well, you tell me; you’re the expert. How do you read it?” And so the expert in the law answers the question by quoting to important Hebrew passages. He quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 and says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” And he also quotes Leviticus 19:18 and says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus when asked a similar question actually gives the same answer.