I Think Jesus Is Okay with Questions
Jesus of Nazareth is my model for how to live the Christian life, yes? His words, his lifestyle, his actions, etc. are all things that I should admire and desire to live up to.
So, why do I feel like the churches I’ve always been a part of are doing a very poor job of communicating that? They say such things in sermons and Sunday school, yeah, but then they get right on top of blowing doctrine out of proportion and minimalizing the sorts of things that are really hard to do and be, the sorts of things Jesus did.
Because here’s the thing. Jesus had so very little to say about doctrine. You didn’t see him in long, drawn out discussions about things like predestination, or exclusivism, or gender roles. He made statements of truth about such things, yes, but he didn’t get all caught up in them like we do so much today.
That wasn’t what Jesus was about. He was about so very much more. He taught a lot of things, yes, but only some were doctrinal things. He left most of that up to the Pharisees. Instead, he talked about things like the the first shall be last, and demanding that we surrender all for him, and that we see the worth of people instead of seeing their status as social outcasts.
In his three years of ministry, Jesus seemed to me to be very much concerned with sometimes gently, sometimes radically, but always lovingly drawing his disciples out of the comfort zones of their society. He challenged them to think differently about the Samaritans by talking to a Samaritan woman, and telling a story about a benevolent Samaritan. He urged the rich to leave behind their wealth for him. I could go on and on about the radical ways Jesus asked more of his followers. And very little of it had to do with believing the right doctrines, and a lot to do with living a life of radical love for God.
In fact, when it came to doctrine, Jesus had precious little desire to give concrete answers, which is something that both confounds me and at the same time lightens this burden I have to “know it all”. When the Pharisees fired questions at him, he answered by turning things right back on them. When the disciples expressed confusion to him, he gently challenged them to look at things in a different light instead of giving them an easy response.
So, I think if Jesus were here with me right now, he’d be okay with my questions. I think he’d be more concerned with my lack of commitment to ministering to the poor and the broken than what I’m currently thinking about all the hot-button issues. I think, if he were here right now, Jesus would do a wonderful job of giving me perspective, and helping me realize how small my questions really are in the larger scheme of things.
P.S. Please note that while this may not come across above, understand that I do think doctrine is important. Having a framework for my faith in Christ is important. It’s just wrong of me to let my pursuit of right doctrine overshadow the much more real command Jesus gave to love the least of these.