looking for a reason

Sometimes you have conversations that are conversations. Sometimes questions are asked for the purpose of finding out the answer.

“How is it with your soul?” is a question seeking an answer, trying to help someone else reflect.

“What is the question you don’t want me to ask?” is a question about trust, about helping someone discern what is going on in their heart.

Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” is a research kind of question. It could lead to a wonderful reflection on what sabbath really means, about what is restful, about the line between restorative activity and work.

Jesus goes that direction, using very clear comparative legal reasoning. “You’ll take care of a sheep. A man is worth more than a sheep. Therefore taking care of a man is acceptable.”

It is clear and accurate…and wasted.

They didn’t care at all about the answer. They cared about trapping Jesus, about finding a reason to kill him.

They asked the question knowing that the better his answer, the more wrong he would be. And he knew that the better his answer was, the more in trouble he would be.

And he didn’t back down. They asked. He answered truthfully and skillfully and then he healed the man. Because for Jesus, this was not an abstract conversation about theology. This was about a man with a hand that needed to be fixed.

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Join me in the mirror for a moment for some more questions:

1. When you know someone has argumentative questions, do you answer or avoid?

2. Is your answer adequate or technically brilliant?

3. Are you more about winning the argument or healing the person that is being used as bait?

4. For the sake of a person, will you risk everything?

Jesus wasn’t looking for a reason. He had one.