Two Ways to Ask a Question

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.’

Mark 8:11-12

School teachers and college professors often experience two types of questioners: those who ask humbly with genuine interest and those who aim to challenge in an adversarial manner. The former clearly seek to understand. The latter are more interested in advancing an agenda, reinforcing their opinions, or simply looking smart.

Unlike the crowds of people who witnessed and marveled over Christ’s miracles, the Pharisees often challenged Jesus’ teaching and public ministry in order to test Him and to undermine Him. They weren’t there to see His wonderful works and consider whether He was actually the person He claimed to be. They were there to trip Him up and trap Him.

Jesus responded to the crowds that followed Him with compassion. He had divine kindness for those who came to Him in humility of heart, recognizing their need. He turned away no one who came genuinely seeking truth. But He met the antagonistic religious leaders with righteous frustration—divine impatience for those who came seeking to prove their own position and to challenge His claims.

There are two ways to ask a question: humbly or arrogantly. And the Teacher always knows the difference.

Some people who say they are religious still get nothing out of the Bible’s teaching. They listen to sermons Sunday after Sunday, looking for reasons not to rest wholly on Christ’s completed work. They ask questions aimed at holding the Lord at arm’s length, and then wonder why they never find satisfactory answers. That is not the way of the child of God. With meekness and curiosity, we should seek to learn from our Teacher and, when our hearts are troubled, come to Him humbly, asking for help to be open to the answer and without demanding that Jesus follow our agenda or expectations.

If you have a big brain, the Bible is able to satisfy your intellect. If you have a big head, you’ll find pride distorts your ability to see the clarity and truth of God’s word. Christ is more than willing to cater to intellectual integrity, but He is entirely unwilling to pander to arrogance.

We all have questions for Jesus about this world, about our life, about the way we should go. Jesus will never turn away those who come to Him, and He welcomes His brothers’ and sisters’ requests. But in addition to considering your questions, consider your heart. Ask your questions, but first think through how you are asking: are you motivated by faith seeking understanding or by pride seeking to be right?

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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