And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
(Mark 12:28–34 ESV)
Austin here. Over the last two and a half years, I have spent most of my time leading a classroom full of fourteen-year-olds in a public speaking class. And for those who have known me for a while, you know that the fact that I am a teacher is laughable. Let’s just say I wasn’t known for acing my classes or destroying my tests.
Even so, teaching has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Watching kids learn and grow in a subject I am so passionate about is a feeling like no other. And watching how God has been preparing me for this throughout my entire life is even cooler.
From as early as I can remember, the Lord provided me with the gift of teachability. I remember taking everything in during middle school football practice, so much so, that the coaches spoke of my ability to take directions.
When I was in high school, my band directors would compliment me on my ability to pursue knowledge outside of myself.
And my college instructors would encourage me in my efforts to ask intentional questions–though my passion for football and band were much stronger than any academic passion I possessed.
I don’t think this was a trait I ever strived for. I genuinely believe it was something God did in my heart because He knew I would one day be a teacher. But man, what a window it has given me into this story in God’s word.
If that scribe was one of my students, I would have liked him. He is one of the students who might have known the answer but wanted to make sure with the teacher. He held is own pride so low that he was willing to make Himself vulnerable in front of God just to learn.
Think about this: the Scriptures tell us that Jesus is preeminent over all creation, meaning that the design of teaching, the role of teaching, the ability to teach was and is sustained by Jesus.
He is the first and greatest teacher to ever walk the earth.
When students ask me about public speaking with the intentions to grow and learn, my heart as the instructor swells.
In the same way, for the scribe to notice or believe that he would receive a worthy answer is important.
Don’t you think that God loves it when His children come to Him with questions from a humble heart? Don’t you know that He adores it when we look to Him because we know He is the only one with any answer worth knowing?
And don’t you think He would rather us come to Him meekly with any and every question than hide our doubts away within our hearts?
Meekly. That word is important.
The Bible says that the meek who will inherit the earth. Coming to Him with our questions has to be from that place of humble submission to His answer–not prideful arrogance.
So this Advent season, as we go through the book of Mark, as we see and experience things in God’s word that might confuse us, as we mourn our lost loved ones, and wonder why there is the suffering that exists, are we asking God with humble hearts or are we just using a question to complain?
Are we trusting Him with our questions or belittling Him with our questions? Are we submitting to His will? Or are we dismissing His power?
Hopefully, as we continue this Advent season, we are encouraged to be vigilant, humble students of Christ. Hopefully, as we pray with meek hearts, we will learn more than ever expected to know.
Because whatever we are facing, He doesn’t only have the answers, He is the answer.