What is a question worth? Some people like to question everything. What seems obvious to us isn’t so obvious to them. I heard a church elder one time question the church board’s use of Robert’s Rules of Order during its meetings. He thought it wasn’t appropriate to use them in a church setting.
The other board members just looked at each other. What a strange question! What possibly could be the problem with Robert’s Rules of Order? They provide a way to have well-organized and productive meetings, and they prevented our meetings from dissolving into shouting matches during controversial issues. Plus, every other church was using them. Obviously, we want to use Robert’s Rules of Order!
But some of us listened to the questions of my elder friend. They were good ones about the difference between the church and other organizations that feel the need to use Robert’s Rules of Order. My elder friend with all the questions had some great points. As a result, I’ve decided Robert’s Rules of Order are a bad idea for churches – for the most part. My questioning friend brought me out of any hard-and-fast kind of dogmatism I might have been tempted to have. And he brought me out of the status quo.
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus immediately found himself being questioned by the scribes and the Pharisees and others. It only took until Chapter 2 for the questions to start popping up. How can Jesus profess to be able to forgive sins? Why does Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners? Why aren’t Jesus’ disciples fasting? Why are Jesus’ disciples picking grain on the Sabbath?
These are good questions. I don’t think we probably should give a hard time to the scribes and Pharisees and other question-askers. It’s not clear by this point in Mark’s Gospel that they had any ill-intent toward Jesus – at least not yet. They were just needing some clarity. Jesus and his followers were doing some things that deserved questions. They were breaking from tradition and doing things that appeared to violate the clear teaching of God’s Law.
In those cases, questions are good things. It’s not a good thing to blindly go along with the crowd – to follow the popular trend of the moment. There’s something for us to learn from these question-askers.
Questions are good, but it also is good to see who Jesus was claiming to be. He was claiming to be God. He claimed the power to forgive sins. And he claimed his presence was a reason for the traditional Jewish fasting to come to an end. And he claimed to be lord of the Sabbath.
And perhaps most importantly, he called himself the “Son of Man.” Recall our study of Daniel 7. (Please read it again if you have time.) The Pharisees and scribes would have heard something very specific when they heard Jesus call himself the Son of Man. It would have meant something to them.
And so the questions were asked, and they were answered.
Mark 2 should give us reason to wonder – What will those question-askers do next? Were they satisfied with Jesus’ responses? Were they moving closer toward a position of faith in Jesus as the Son of Man, or were they moving further away from it?
It is good to ask questions about God and about Jesus Christ. At some point, however, we have to make a decision. Questions must come to an end, and we must decide. Do we follow or not? Subsequent chapters in Mark’s Gospel will show how some of the question-askers in Jesus’ day decided to respond.
A question for your day: What’s the big question you have right now about your life or about the world in which we live? Based on what you know about Jesus from Scripture, what answer do you envision him giving you?