In following Jesus and becoming a Christian disciple, we find a component of active learning. While this sounds elementary, the fact remains that many approach religion from a purely experiential perspective. In other words, some think the sum total of spirituality is a feeling of ecstasy. While indeed joy and bliss accompany the Christian walk, it also has a crucial space for learning—not rote learning but engaging reason in question and answer. The Old Testament records “ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD” (Isa. 1:18). The New Testament says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).
Within a relationship where trust is established (preparation stage) and spiritual things are considered (plant stage), a time must come when the questions of the mind and heart are asked. While many answers will be addressed from Scripture, not all answers may be provided immediately, as some require more spiritual maturity to comprehend. Nonetheless, for this space to occur, one must embrace the art of the question.
Questions introduce new information, stimulate emotions, motivate us to action, and open the beginning points for discussion, as well as open up any prejudices and misunderstandings. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, had mastered the art of the question. It provided opportunities not only for answers but also for healings, emotions, conviction, guilt, and freedom to be experienced. In the Gospel of Mark alone, Christ asks questions like, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8); “Which is easier to say . . . ?” (Mark 2:9); “What is your name?” (Mark 5:9); “Who touched My clothes?” (Mark 5:30); “Who do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27); “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:37); “What are you discussing with them?” (Mark 9:16); “Whose image and inscription is this?” (Mark 12:16); and many more. Yes, some are simple questions of dialogue, but in some narratives, Christ is not seeking information (because He already knows!). Rather, He is seeking a teaching moment where He opens up the presuppositions of the student’s perspective.
Have we had this type of one-on-one question-and-answer time with the Lord Jesus? Have we had our presuppositions questioned as we reason together with God and learn directly from His Word? And have we passed that experience on to someone else, continuing the lineage of discipleship?