The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
- Luke 10:36-37
Luke describes this anonymous young man as an expert in the law. We might first think of him as a lawyer, but because this is primarily religious law we’re talking about, we might equally call him a seminarian. Now, my brother is a lawyer and I am obviously a preacher. And I can tell you, there are some similarities in our training. We were both taught to examine things, to analyze them, to ponder the possibilities in front of us. Most of all we’re both taught to ask good questions in the search for truth and justice. Theoretically, the questions asked by lawyers and preachers are supposed to eventually lead not simply to the discovery of truth and justice but to the enacting of those virtues as well. Of course, we all know it’s easier to ask the questions and discuss answers than it is to put those answers into practice.
The young man in our text, in keeping with his professional training, had questions for Jesus. Good questions, even if his motives were a little mixed. Luke writes that he stood up to test Jesus with perhaps the question of all questions, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus proves, that while he might not have the training of the lawyer, he’s not afraid of asking questions himself. “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”