A song from a generation ago had the cryptic title “Questions 67 and 68.” I thought that must imply that somewhere there were questions 1–66, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what they might be. In fact, I couldn’t figure out what questions 67 and 68 were. I guess you could say that I had questions about questions.
If we’re honest, we could all admit that we have questions about questions—especially the big questions that surface when we face a crisis. What do we do or say, for instance, when we see a good family struggle with a lengthy illness, or a financial crisis, or an untimely death? What can we say to an entire region struggling to cope with a natural disaster, or a war?
Bringing it closer to home, what do we do when such calamities hit us? This is where we wrestle with questions like: Why does this happen? Does God exist? Does He care? Why are we here? Where did we come from? Does anything have ultimate meaning?
When we ask questions, we don’t want the simple answer to what. Mere knowledge isn’t enough. We need to ask the right questions. We want to know why.
Why do good people suffer and then leave us? Why are young mothers left to struggle with a family and no husband? Why does God let entire people groups be devastated by events beyond their control? Why?
Wrestling with the why questions of life is not unique to our generation. Imagine what it must have been like in first-century Israel when a revolutionary rabbi came out of the Galilee. Jesus did and said some radical things that raised eyebrows and questions. Jesus was inspirational, powerful—and confusing. In essence, He forced a crisis within the Jewish community. Why? Because He shattered long-cherished behaviors and practices that had been ingrained in the Jewish people since the establishment of Moses’s law.
As people tried to figure Jesus out, they asked Him questions. We see that especially in the fast-paced account of Jesus’s life in Mark 2. Four times people ask Jesus why He behaved the way He did. They wondered who He was and what He was up to. Their questions merit our closer scrutiny.