Marc Brown explores how Jesus defines the reality of God’s kingdom and his own identity by asking the right questions.
In the ninth chapter of Mark, Jesus asked his disciples: “What were you discussing on the way?” He was evidently aware that the disciples had been debating who the greatest was among them. Jesus could have responded to the disciples’ power struggle by telling them their discussion was nonsense. He could have told them to stop dealing with petty and trivial matters and get a grip on reality. Instead, Jesus asked the right question: “What were you discussing on the way?”
Jesus did not get drawn into the triviality of the disciples’ power struggle. Rather, his question helped the disciples focus on the importance of being a disciple: “If any one would be first, that person must be last of all and servant of all.”
When churches are caught in the midst of power struggles, our first impulse is often to provide answers to problems. But leaders do not need answers. They must instead ask the right questions.
Perhaps the best question we can ask is the question Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing on the way?” This right question will open the door to conversation about greatness and power in God’s kingdom. It will allow us to define our identity as we seek to be servants of all. Perhaps this question will allow persons entombed by power struggles of the past and present to see that the stone has been rolled away.
In Mark, Jesus defines the reality of God’s kingdom and his own identity by asking the right questions, such as “What did Moses command you?”, “Why do you call me good?”, “What do you want me to do for you?”, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”