Some issues are not mere hot-button topics. In spite of bad wording or insincere intentions, they deserve to be dealt with.
Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you understand it?”
When people talk about eternal life, Jesus likes it. He did not upbraid the law expert for his question, even knowing the motivation behind it. He dealt seriously with it, just as he dealt seriously with the rich young ruler’s question about it as well, Lk 18.18.
And when people talk about doing something, Jesus likes it. The Lord has no interest in academic or theological discussions. In this conversation with the law expert, he emphasized the practice of love twice, Lk 10.28, 37.
It is Luke who registers the young ruler’s and the law expert’s questions about eternal life. It was a big issue among Jews of that time, Jn 5.39-40. Luke shows Jesus’ interest in the question as well, to help others find it.
As he often does, the Lord answers the question of the law expert with one of his own. The man knows the answer already, but he’s not interested in living it, because he has an agenda. (Not unlike some today.) Jesus throws the responsibility back upon the expert’s shoulders, to live according to what he already knows.
The irony was that they asked questions about eternal life, while standing face to face with it/him.
May we not be so blind as they.
Check out these books on the subject.