Jesus answers the question with a question. Why? Because the lawyer was testing him. He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’
He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself’. ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus, ‘do this and life is yours.’
The lawyer answered so promptly because it was a prayer that the Jews recited three times a day. It’s called the Shema. He knew it off by heart. He was a fellow Israelite but was certain that Jesus would give an answer different to this narrow limitation and leave himself wide open to a charge of heresy.
For this reason the lawyer wasn’t content to leave it there. He wanted to justify himself and so asked another question. ‘And who is my neighbour?’
Jesus was ready for him and tells him instead the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’.
You can’t argue with that!