“Shangri-La” was a book and a musical written by James Hilton in the 1930s about an Englishman who had accidently found a paradise somewhere in the Himalaya Mountains.
There is a song in that musical that has always been one of our family’s favorites entitled, “Answer with a Question.” We thought it was quite novel, but never really considered that anything like that ever existed.
The rabbis did something very similar, if not identical, to that. If someone asked a rabbi a question, he would pose a question to them in an effort to help them come to an understanding of the truth they sought.
This is exactly what Jesus was doing in Mark chapters 11 and 12. After his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus was walking in the temple and the chief priests and scribes came to him and asked, “”By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?” (Mark 11:28 NASB).
Jesus answered, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me” (Mark 11:29-30).
Jesus’ question was designed to help them see the truth. They, however, were too intent in catching Jesus in an inconsistency, a difficult position, or even a lie. The very interesting thing about this passage is how Jesus knew they were analyzing his response.
This same kind of thing happened in Mark 12:13-17; 12:18-27; 12:28-34; and 12:34-36.
Jesus never stopped trying to help the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, the chief priests or scribes to understand the truth about who he was and what he taught. Why didn’t he lose interest in them? He wouldn’t lose interest in them because he loved all men (John 3:16).
The apostle Paul wrote the young preacher Timothy telling him that God’s people should pray for all men. Why? Paul wrote, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
No matter how much we rebel, no matter how much we resist, God wants us to “come to the knowledge of the truth,” so that we might be saved. He is not going to give up on any one until death closes life’s book on them.
The soul is the most valuable thing any of us will ever possess. God wants to save us, if we will surrender to him.