“But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" (v29). This lawyer wanted to know how to inherit eternal life, yet he didn’t want to obligate himself too much. Loving God and neighbor was the recognized heart of the Law (v26), but the man wanted to narrow his duty to his “neighbor” to the fewest possible people. Jesus told a story that turned the question around, asking instead “Who proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among thieves?” (v36).
“Go and do likewise” (v37). Rather than putting other people into categories, Jesus calls us to focus on our task: to be a neighbor to all who need mercy.