“So He asked the Father, “How long has this been happening to him?”  Mark 9:21

“Do you want to be made well?”  John 5:7

“What did Moses command you?”  Mark 10:3

As I have read through the gospels I am always taken aback with the amount of times Jesus asked questions.  So many times when people came to him for healing, Jesus would first ask them a question: often concerning what they wanted from Him. The true God who came down to earth with all knowledge and power, who truly had all the answers, would often first ask questions, even of his accusers before answering them. One of the ways that you could tell that Jesus truly listened to people he was communicating with before answering them; was He would use their answers to his questions, in His explanations.  In other parts of the bible, we are told that Jesus could tell what was in the hearts and minds of people before or without them saying a word.

So why didn’t He just state His perfect answers before anyone said a word?  As to His motive I would not dare to try to speak for Jesus Christ.  However, as speech communications major and 20 plus year adult instructor in communication and behavioral processes, I can tell you the impact of not only His questions but also the fact that He would listen.  Jesus elevated the importance of person with whom He was interacting.  This is another example of Jesus’ servant prospective.  He truly is the Great Teacher.  Jesus knew that it was important for those He was interacting with to express their perspective, even if that perspective was in error.  Jesus used Himself as example by so often listening and then responsively teaching.  In essence saying:  “I have listened to you, now you should listen to me.”  Some might say that Jesus was giving up a position of strength and power by asking questions to and actually listening to responses, especially from His enemies.  Yet Jesus was profoundly confident that His Spirit of truth would overwhelm and defeat any wrong argument against Him, so there was no danger in His practice.

Think about how we so often interact today.  Time after time we see and hear where conversations rarely contain a complete sentence before the other person interrupts to jump in with their point.  We hear questions asked and as the person starts to respond, they are cut off with an attack or the other person trying to answer for the person.  In so many cases where there is the potential for disagreement there is no desire to elevate the other person to a level of equality in perspective but there is more often the need to belittle the person to utterly destroy their reasoning before we even have the opportunity to hear it.  The outcome is that the two parties virtually never learn anything new about the topic at hand and worst yet the other person.  We leave the interaction divided, discouraged and distrustful.

Let us learn from Jesus example.  Let us not believe that it is a sign of weakness to openly ask about the other side of the story.  Let us truly listen to the different perspective of others trying to gain insight into the person as well as the position.  There is one aspect of Jesus Christ’s example we should not copy.  And that is the thought that we have all knowledge.  We need to remember that we are the ones with the planks in our own eyes, that make it difficult to see the specks of others.

The two greatest commandments:  Love God and Love others as ourselves.  In remembering these we should remember that God truly wants to hear from us and will listen with His entire being and we should be listening to Him in return.  If He will listen to us when we speak to Him, should we not extend the same to others with home we speak?

Amen

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