Good leaders lead from deep conviction and lead people into deep conviction by asking questions that reveal the condition of the heart rather than knowledge in the mind.
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, [by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, the asked]… 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Observations and reflection questions
- What was the motive of this lawyer (i.e. master in Jewish Law) in asking Jesus this question? And in which? (verse 25)
- Jesus answered the lawyer’s question with two questions. (verse 26)
- Why would Jesus do this? And what did he accomplish by doing this?
- What was his intent with the first question?
- What was his intent with the second question?
- Explain in your own words why the lawyer asked the second question. (verse 29)
- After telling the parable Jesus asked a question. (verse 36)
- Why did he ask that question?
- What did he accomplish by asking that question?
Personal reflection and Application questions
Jesus was skilled in the rabbinic method of teaching, making use of illustrations, comparisons, parables and questions. His questions always cut to the heart of the matter, so that even the most learned people were prompted to introspection rather than intellectual debates.
- Reflect on your opportunities of teaching and facilitating. Are you more prone to giving facts or more prone to asking questions?
- Compare typical (monologue) teaching verses the use of questioning. What are the benefits of each?
- How would you ask questions that would invite introspective answer (heart response) rather than give factual answer (head response)? Give a few examples.
Thank God for the examples recorded in Scripture, and pray that he would teach you to live from the heart (conviction), and speak to the heart (conviction) by asking deep and direct questions in love. Pray for the gift of discernment of motives.