My youth pastor from years ago told me recently that as a student, I always asked “why.” I had lots of questions. It’s been said that Gentile parents tell their children as they go to school, “Learn something new,” while Jewish parents tell their children, “Ask a good question.” Questions have the power to open up dialogue, create possibilities, and expand our understanding. Questions can also be used to push an agenda or in this case to “test” Jesus as a leader. The Pharisees test Jesus with this question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
The challenge of relationships is not new to our time. Jesus responds to their legal question with his own question to point them to the answer they already know. ”What did Moses command you?”
Moses allowed for divorce but permitted the women to remarry. (Read Deuteronomy 24:1-4.) Notice that Jesus goes on to speak less of divorce and more about the intent of marriage from the beginning of creation: “The two shall become one flesh.” Jesus returns to Genesis to support his understanding of this special union and God’s intention for marriage. Nothing shall separate the two. But pay attention to Jesus’ disclaimer: Because humankind is not perfect and experiences hardness of heart, divorce still occurs.
The Pharisees do not entrap Jesus with their question. He attempts to deepen understanding by raising a question of his own. He reminds others of God’s love and care as revealed through intimate relationship since the start of creation. What questions do you have for God? What questions will give you deeper insight into the grace-filled heart of God?
Thank you, God, that you are big enough for my questions. May my questions draw me closer to you and reveal your gracious intent for all. Amen.
This month we read about Job, an upright man who faces severe trials but never loses his faith. Job’s story brings us face-to-face with the fact that living a godly life does not make us immune to suffering. Like Job, the psalmist wonders why he suffers, even though he lives according to God’s standards. Hebrews presents Jesus as the ultimate example of unwarranted suffering, yet because of his perseverance he is ultimately glorified. In Mark, some Pharisees test Jesus on the interpretation of the law concerning divorce. Jesus makes strong statements about marriage, but his larger concern is that their hearts have become hard. He contrasts them with little children, who model faith by receiving God with an open heart.
• Read Job 1:1; 2:1-10. How do you live with integrity?
• Read Psalm 26. When have you turned to God, fully expecting divine intervention in a tough situation? What happened?
• Read Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. When has your reaction to God’s showing up in unexpected ways resulted in a face-plant?
• Read Mark 10:2-16. How questioning a person are you? When have your questions helped you move below the surface of an issue to see the supporting understanding?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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