But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
That is, “Who must I love if I want to inherit eternal life?” And then Jesus hit him with the story of the good Samaritan:
A man is robbed and beaten. A man just like the lawyer asking the question, perhaps? Two upstanding citizens walk past without helping, but a Samaritan (read: outcast) bandages his wounds, gets him a room at a hotel, and leaves a credit card in case the man needs more help.
Jesus asks which of the three is a neighbor to the man who was robbed. The Samaritan, of course.
Neighbor = the one you must love if you want eternal life.
Neighbor = the amazingly generous outcast who isn’t too busy to help the story’s “me” (the man to whom Jesus is replying).
Therefore, the one you must love if you want eternal life = the amazingly generous outcast who isn’t too busy to help you and others like you.
Jesus packs three massive concepts into one little story: Receive the love of the Samaritan, love as the Samaritan loves, and love the Samaritan. I’m humbled by the difficulty of doing any of these things.