Do you ask good questions? As a follower of Jesus we are called to be a part of establishing God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. How can we do that effectively unless we start asking the right kinds of questions that will help us to engage critically with both the bible and the world around us?
HOW DO YOU READ THE GOOD SAMARITAN?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most popular stories Jesus tells. We can find it in Luke 10 and it came out of a question Jesus asks in response to a question He receives.
‘On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher, “he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”
We know the basic story quite well – man gets attacked and robbed and left for dead, two religious leaders walk by, moving to the other side of the street, and a Samaritan [enemy of the Jew] stops and bandages him up and takes him to an inn and pays for him to be looked after.
I sat last week with a group of 18 young people and we interrogated that parable. By looking at the various characters in the story, we were able to come up with some questions that might help us understand the bigger picture if that was a real-life situation.
NOW THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION
- Was this a road notorious for attacks? Or was this the first? If it was a dangerous road then what responsibility do the local community or the law-keepers have in terms of what happens there? Why was the man travelling there alone?
- Why didn’t the religious leaders stop? Was it a time thing [in a rush to a meeting] or a culture thing [touching the body would have made them unclean and unable to minister in the temple] or a fear thing [what if I get attacked?] or something else.
- We know the identity of the Samaritan and the Jew, but what about the innkeeper? Was he a Samaritan or a Jew and either way what would this story speak to him? If he was Samaritan would he allow a Jew into his inn? If he was Jewish what would he make of this Samaritan helping his fellow Jew? What impact might this story have had on him?
And there are obviously more. But can you see that as we take a step back and start to ask some more probing questions, we will start to gather information that will help us to understand at a much deeper level what is really going on.
WHAT QUESTIONS ARE YOU ASKING AS A CHURCH?
Now, we are just talking about a hypothetical situation there and so it might not be super helpful. But once we start looking at our church, our community and our country in the same way and start asking really good questions, we have a greater chance of seeing more abundant life happening around us.
Part of the greatest command Jesus gives us is that we are meant to love the Lord our God with all of our mind. That’s right, God wants us to use our brain. There are some churches that seem to never want people to ask questions about things. Hopefully you are not part of one of those.
What are some of the questions you are asking as a youth group or a church when it comes to your community and the areas you inhabit?
What if we as a youth group, or even a church, decided to commit ourselves to regularly ask questions that critique and challenge. Questions that seek to explore on a deeper level exactly where and how God wants us to be engaging with those around us?
Let’s ask better questions and then respond well to the opportunities they present for us to usher in the Kingdom of God around us.