Questioning to Teach and Learn

“On the way [Jesus] asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ They told him, ‘John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ…’ Mark 8:27-29

“And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.'” Mark 10:2-9

“Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, [cried] out and say, ‘Jesus,.. have mercy on me!..’ Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to him, ‘Rabbi, let me recover my sight.’  And Jesus said, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.” Mark 10:46-47,51-52

Question marks make a statement. Question marks delineate the space between what is said and what is answered. They initiate the process of wonder, investigation, formulation, discovery. Jesus often taught by questioning-sparking the brain, exposing motive, and triggering the self-discovery that invites faith and makes learning sticky and effective.

We learn well by asking questions and processing responses, weighing curiosity and content until the scales of understanding balance. It is good to come to Jesus with our conundrums. Yet often, to those who approached Him, Jesus responded with questions, because as Creator He knew that providing easy answers was not as meaningful or effective as coming to grips with intent and solutions personally. He designed His Socratic discussions to awaken inquiry, recall, and faith to believe.

As a people we have, even unwittingly, grown accustomed to quick answers. We accept ready responses to internet searches as expert- from and selected by unknowns- with no discerning of our own. We’ve grown lazy in working through practical and relational problems, choosing instead the instant or what appears easy way out with no regard for long-term consequences. We trust strangers to do our thinking and choosing without knowing their worldview, spiritual perspective, or moral compass.

The Lord has given us brains for a reason, and His Holy Spirit within to guide and teach. He plants both question and the compulsion to find answers, and always grants wisdom when we seek it. How honest are we with God? When we take time to converse with Him, do we bring all of our questions, or hold some back for fear His responding truth will uncomfortably probe, convict, require change, or disagree with our desire? When He does not answer immediately, would we trust Him to in His time? (Proverbs 2:3-6; Matthew 7:7; John 16:13; James 1:5)

Omniscient and thoroughly good Lord, keep our communion two-way and vigorous. Open my eyes to see and understand myself and You, and train me to think and act with the mind of Christ, to Your praise.

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