More than answers
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
- Luke 10:25-28
What would you ask Jesus if you got invited to a Live Q&A event with him? This week’s passage shows us a rapid back and forth between Jesus and a brilliant expert in the law. Jesus treats the question-asker respectfully and patiently. But there are some surprising elements to this interaction.
The first surprise is that Jesus answers the question with a question. For those of us who have been following Jesus for a while, the initial question may feel a little bit like a softball.
Imagine someone stopping you in the parking lot on your way to your car today and asking you: what must I do to inherit eternal life? You might talk about God’s love, about grace, about confession and forgiveness, about the need to follow Jesus. You might bumble and stumble your way through an answer if you were put on the spot, but you could eventually come up with something that would be helpful.
Jesus, however, turns the question back on itself and channels it. To this expert in the law, Jesus points him back to the Jewish religious code and gives him space to share his brilliant mashup of Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Jesus reflects back to this man what the man already knows.
What you see in this first stage of their interaction is Jesus’ desire to offer relationship and not just answers. He isn’t content to disseminate information. He’s not Siri or Alexa or Cortana or Bixby. He’s the living God, lovingly present.
Take time today to look for opportunities to be respectful and patient with the people around you. Look to connect with question-askers, not just offer answers. God will give you opportunities if you’re on the lookout for them.