I am fascinated with Jesus’ ability to ask powerful questions to answer questions.  As I understand, that was the culture Jesus lived in where people didn’t just answer questions, they asked questions to further the conversation.  Ray Vanderlaan gives one example of a conversation between an American woman visiting a Jewish artist’s shop:

  • woman: So which is your favourite painting?
  • artist: Are you married?
  • woman: Yes.  Why?  (Vanderlaan suggests the woman wasn’t sure why the artist asked this question because it seems to have no relevance.  He points out, if she just left it with her answer without asking a question, the conversation would have stopped.)
  • artist: Do you have any children?
  • woman: Yes.  Why?
  • artist: Which one is your favourite?

I love this example because it not only answers the woman’s question, but helps her to see what his answer relates to her, and how he’s using her context to understand his world.

This is the beauty of powerful questions.  It shows that “we don’t know it all” but rather demonstrates a sense of genuine curiosity.  It shows that we are interested and are wanting to understand the other person’s context.  It also provides an opportunity for the other person to connect to our context if they choose.  It extends the conversation to the level in which both people have a deeper appreciation.  And Jesus was the master at powerful questions.

So, what does this remind you of?

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