The Value of Hard Questions
“. . . He had answered them well, . . .”Mark 12:28
This verse contains a conversation between Jesus and the teachers of the law. For the third time in one day, Jesus has been confronted with hard questions. Having silenced the Pharisees and the Sadducees, He is now asked to decide a point on which there were differing opinions among the Jews: “Of all the commandments which is the most important?” The hard questions given to Jesus have a high value to you and me.
Without hard questions being put to Jesus, His wisdom would have never been known to us. How Jesus shows us how to handle difficult questions – His example – reminds us that even when the questions are intended to be malicious and manipulative, He can bring good out of evil. In the face of the verbal assaults, Jesus brings it back to the work of the kingdom and the success of the church.
He can make the enmity of the Pharisees, the Sadducees and teachers of the law function as instructors to His people today. Little did the three questioners in this chapter ever think what benefit their crafty questions would resonate and result in a call of clarity and freedom throughout all of Christendom.
Jesus took an old law and filled it with new meaning. He put two commandments together. No rabbi had ever done that before. To Jesus, true relationship was loving God and loving others. He believed the only way one can prove a deep genuine love for God is by how they love others.
It’s easy to let ritual and religion take the place of love. It’s easy to reduce worship to a building, instead affecting the whole of life. Compartmentalizing love is what allowed the priest to pass by the wounded traveler to eagerly get on to his ritual at the temple.
There must have been a look of love in Jesus’ eyes as He fielded their hard questions. There was a warm appeal in the tone of His voice as He summoned them to come one step closer when he said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Have your let your hard questions lead you into God’s kingdom?