It starts with the religious leaders asking of Jesus and his followers, “Why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” (Mark 2:24)
“Why?” is usually a good question to start with, but not just to prove our assumptions.
In asking the question this way, the religious leaders have already decided what Jesus and his followers are doing is wrong. They ask this question as a form of judgment, seeking only to discover their motive (which must be sinister).
Think of how many questions we ask of others, having already decided the answer we are looking for in order to publicly shame, admonish or prove how superior we are to them.
When we pre-judge people and their motivations, we close ourselves off from seeing or learning anything new. We also tend to de-humanize the people we are scrutinizing.
By asking the wrong question, these religious leaders could not discover that Jesus was showing them (and us) a better way to be human by caring for others rather than simply enforcing the rules which would have ignored them. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). He used the Sabbath to make the lives of people around him better. Do we?
A better question to ask might be: “Why do we have the Sabbath?”
The religious leaders forgot the Sabbath was set aside to remember the people of God were once salves in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15). They turned a celebration of freedom into a rigid rule. Jesus used the Sabbath as an opportunity to set people free. Jesus revealed what the Sabbath was supposed to be for – freedom. His opponents took Jesus’ actions on the Sabbath as an assault on what they held to be sacred. Asking the wrong question led to the wrong answer. So they sought to destroy him (Mark 3:6).
How about you?
What do you think the disciples experienced when their hunger was met on that Sabbath? (Mark 2:23)
What do you think the man whose hand was restored experienced on that Sabbath? (Mark 3:1-5)
What do you think the crowds hoped to experience when they came to Jesus after that Sabbath? (Mark 3:7-12)
What do you hope to experience the next time you encounter Jesus?
Will you see it?
It might be right in front of you already. Ask the right questions.