“Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” But after that they dared not question Him anymore.” Luke 20:39
You’ve heard it said that the only stupid question is the one not asked. Well I will tell you this, I have often taken that statement as a challenge, much to the chagrin of many of my teachers or professors. Because often if I think it, I ask it. There is of course the rhetorical question. That type of question is interesting because it does not seek a specific answer, only the possibility that the answer is out there if we ponder it. However, most questions serve a more definite purpose. One purpose is for the enlightenment of the asker, another purpose can be the confounding of the answerer. The power, in the end, rests with the one asking the question.
Jesus has entered Jerusalem for the last time. While He was not popular with the Jewish, religious leadership to start with is an understatement, but the triumphant reaction of the crowds at his entry, have the leadership beside themselves. They have to find a way to destroy him. A way that will seem legitimate to the people and to the Romans. Some come up with a plan, we’ll ask Him questions! That’s the ticket. First we’ll ask Him by what authority He teaches, preaches and heals, we’ll catch Him then. “First answer me, John’s baptism, was it from God or from Man?” Ugh, that didn’t work. Another says, I’ll catch Him speaking against Rome and their taxes. We’ll ask Him a question and when Rome hates the answer they’ll do our dirty work for us! “Render under Cesar that which is Cesar’s and unto God that which is God’s”. Curses, that didn’t work the way we thought it would. We’ll ask him a learned logic question, that’ll trip him up! About whether there is a resurrection or not! Remember God said to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, He is not the God of dead but of the living. I give up! We just can’t be this Guy!
They tried to confound the answerer, to trip Him up and they failed. In fact some acknowledged His wisdom. But, here is the thing; they decided to go away and stay ignorant. In their minds, there was power in their ignorance. They felt if they asked Jesus for understanding, and really received it, they could very well lose their current standing. To ask Jesus a question and openly accept and marvel at His answer would be to admit that they lacked the knowledge that He had, the wisdom He possessed. And perhaps most frightening, to ask Jesus a question and truly agree with His answer would cause them to change, in very fundamental ways. To maintain their power, to remain safe, it would be a far better thing to be ignorant of Jesus.
So what about me? I find myself making requests. I would sure like this and can’t I please have that. I read the bible and try to make what sense I can of it. But how often do I ask that question; why? Not the type of why that challenges the wisdom of God, but truly seeks to bring about some understanding. How open am I to an answer from Him that brings about a deeper understanding which will shake my personal traditions and human-centric beliefs to their core? How often am I ready to, not only accept His answer, but let it transform me to the person I need to be. The Jewish Leadership had their chance and in the end, they safely, ignorantly followed the path to destruction. May I be weak enough to sincerely ask, risky enough to be open to and, knowing my ignorance, be humble enough to receive the wisdom and instruction, freely offered by Almighty God.
Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, our earthly culture is often one of advisories testing each other through questions. Yet through Your Mercy, Dear Father, you allow us the created, to ask questions of You the Creator. Please give me the spirit to ask wise questions as well as the spirit to understand Your answers. Give me the understanding that the seeming weakness of my ignorance that brings me asking to You, is really about the unleashing the power of Your Wisdom and Strength, that comes in the answer. Help me conquer my fear that the answer will change me and so I would rather stay ignorant from You. That in my asking and Your Answering, Your Most Holy Name will be praised. In Jesus Christ Name I pray. Amen