“A lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Luke 10:25). The scribes and Pharisees had confronted Jesus and challenged his authority on many occasions but now a lawyer approached him, perhaps someone sent by them. Lawyers are well trained in the art of debate and undoubtedly this one was also well-schooled in the laws of the Old Covenant. He probably expected Jesus to begin to recite some of the rules regarding Sabbath, washing of hands, clean and unclean food. So many rules! And which one leads to eternal life?
Jesus answered the lawyer’s question with a question: “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (10:26). And the lawyer answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (10:27). Jesus answered him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live” (10:28).
With those simple words, Jesus did away with the burden of all the rules and regulations and presented the most refreshing, world-changing, life-transforming message you could ever hear.
Jesus mentioned the most important thing first: love God with all your heart, soul and mind. And after you come into relationship with him, he will give you a new heart, a heart that can be moved with compassion toward others. “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). A heart of kindness and concern for others.
You can never love your neighbor the way Jesus loves us, but love for others is a natural byproduct of a changed heart. When he transforms you, you can say with the psalmist, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).