Grilled by a Lawyer
Verse 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?”
Today we start delving into another one of Jesus’ parables. Let’s start by setting the scene.
If you have ever had a conversation with a lawyer you will know that they never seem to ask random questions. There is always a reason for what is being asked. Sometimes their questions seem simple but they may just be questions that will lead to other questions. This question asked of Jesus was not just a passing question and it wasn’t really about the answer that was given but more about what that answer revealed about Jesus, His thinking and who He claimed to be.
This wasn’t just any lawyer, he was a lawyer specializing in the religious law. Eternal life wasn’t exactly a topic covered in the law but religious leaders and teachers definitely had their beliefs about these things. They had their beliefs on many things and Jesus’ teaching was contrary to theirs. They were teaching the letter of the law (what the law said) – even adding to the law to make it clearer to their way of thinking. But Jesus was teaching in the spirit of the law (what the law was meant to do).
Notice that Jesus answered the lawyer’s question with a question, actually two of them. His questions weren’t what the law said about eternal life but what the law said and how the lawyer interpreted it. Why was that important? Remember that Jesus knew that a lawyer would have a personal opinion on the law and how it should be carried out.
The lawyer responds as expected giving the summary of the law that Jesus, Himself used on occasion. By Jesus’ returning his question with a question would not have taken the lawyer by surprise as this was a common thing in Jewish culture. The fact that Jesus asked such a basic question followed by a request of personal opinion may have had the lawyer feeling like he was being put on the defensive end but he handled it with confidence.
If asked a question about our beliefs would we have a ready answer? The lawyer had a concise and ready answer because he was often studying the law and had made up his mind what it said and meant. Are you that familiar with the Bible to offer an answer when asked a question? Maybe this is the day to start preparing.
Making It Personal
Have you ever been asked a question about your faith? Have you been ready to answer it? Do you know what you believe and why so that you can answer a question that comes your way?
Making It Personal Kids
Has your teacher ever asked you a question and you didn’t know how to answer? It isn’t fun to be put on the spot like that, is it? What can you do to learn more about Jesus and the Bible so that you could answer any questions people ask you?
Father, thank You for giving us minds that can learn more about You and Your ways. Help us desire to learn more about You so that we can live Your way and know how to answer questions people ask us. In Jesus’ name, amen.