Come Humbly, Seek Honestly
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?
2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,1 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Let the Children Come to Me
13And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
The Rich Young Man
17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
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