Email this as a PDF Document
Please enter a valid email address.

SHARE THIS:

( encourage your friends! )

Jesus' Ministry of Questions

Ten Questions Christians Are Asking

Jesus' Ministry of Questions

When President Ronald Reagan addressed the Gridiron Club at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., on March 26, 1988, he opened with one of his inimitable quips. “Before I refuse to take your questions,” he said, “I have an opening statement. 1

The crowd gave him a hearty laugh, but there was truth in what he said. Most politicians would rather make statements than answer questions. So would most preachers. So would most of us. It’s easy to make statements, state opinions, preach sermons, give advice, declare truth, and tell others what we think. Often we should, for the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love. We have a Gospel to proclaim and a testimony to bear. Jesus made many statements; yet much of His ministry was spent asking and answering questions.

“Before I refuse to take your questions,” he said, “I have an opening statement.”

He started early. The second chapter of Luke’s Gospel gives us the one and only extant scene from our Lord’s childhood, when at age twelve He stayed behind in Jerusalem while His parents traveled home thinking He was in the company of their group. It took seventy-two anxious hours for Joseph and Mary to double back and locate Him. They finally found their Son ensconced in the Temple, engaged in question-and-answer sessions with the rabbis.

Luke wrote, “After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46-47).

Notice that He was asking questions and He was also giving answers.

In the next verse, the Lord’s exasperated mother had a question of her own. “Son,” asked Mary, “why have You done this to us?”

Notice that He was asking questions and He was also giving answers.

The twelve-year-old didn’t just answer her question with a question, but with two of them: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

That was the beginning of a ministry of questions. When you read the four Gospels looking for question marks, you’ll find them everywhere. Jesus knew all the answers, yet He was endlessly asking and answering questions. By studying our Lord’s use of questions, we see how His wisdom intersected with human need.

What do you want Me to do for you? Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? Who do you say that I am? Who is My mother and who are My brothers? Why do you think evil in your hearts? Do you love Me more than these? Who touched Me? What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Of how much more value are you than the birds? Why are you anxious? Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? How many loaves do you have? Were there not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Do you believe that I am able to do this? Why make this commotion and weep? Why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say?  Will you lay down your life for My sake? Could you not watch with Me one hour? What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad? Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me? My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? 2

That was the beginning of a ministry of questions.

From the casual to the crucial, Jesus used the grappling hooks of questions to snag His hearers’ interest, grasp their thoughts, reveal their motives, explore their needs, and clench their decisions.

If the Lord Jesus came to speak one Sunday at my church, I wonder what questions He would ask and what questions He would answer. I’d want to be first in line with my list. I know what it’s like to have poignant questions deep down in my soul. Some questions are so painful, we’re afraid to ask them. Other questions are so helpful, the answers can bless all the world.

Jesus used the grappling hooks of questions to snag His hearers’ interest.

Much of my life has been seeking out answers for life from the Word of God, first to satisfy my own mind and heart, and then to meet the needs of others. Throughout my years of ministry, I have found I feel closest to people’s needs when I’m dealing with their most heartfelt questions. Yes, I love to make statements and preach sermons; but I never want to disregard those sincere questions that embody our search for meaning. Questions are the inquiries of curious minds and the entreaties of wondering souls. Where there are question marks in our minds and spirits, we need the truths and promises of Scripture.

In that spirit, I recently asked those who attend our congregation, Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego, to send me questions they would ask me if we were sitting down in a coffee shop. What’s on your mind? What’s on your heart? What perplexes you? What troubles you? What answers do you need to be a happier and stronger person?

These are the questions that appeared in my inbox over and over.

The letters and emails came in, and I went through them carefully and selected several questions to answer in a series of Sunday morning sermons. These are the questions that appeared in my inbox over and over.

Out of those messages has come this book. I pray that as you study its pages, you’ll find the answers God provides for the questions you are asking, like . . .

How Can I Be Sure of My Salvation?
How Can I Overcome Temptation?
How Can I Get Victory Over Worry?
How Can I Find Forgiveness?
Is There Only One Way to God?
Why Do Christians Have So Many Problems?
Why Don’t My Prayers Get Answered?
Is There a Sin God Cannot Forgive?
What Is Faith?
What Is the Greatest Commandment?

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.”

Francis Bacon said, “A prudent question is one half of wisdom.3 May the following pages provide the other half as we open our hearts to the answers of God’s Word to the questions people are asking. I’m convinced the words of Scripture can answer the deepest needs of your life so you can say with the psalmist: “I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation” (Psalm 118:21).

His omnipotent hand can bend your most stubborn question marks into exclamation points of praise.

God has answers to the questions Christians are asking.

He has answers for you, and His omnipotent hand can bend your most stubborn question marks into exclamation points of praise.

1 Quoted by Lou Cannon, “‘Reaganisms’ of the Year,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 1989, http://articles.philly.com/1989-01-03/news/26121743_1_larry-speakes-economic-summit-reagan-and-soviet-leader. Widely quoted in other media outlets.

2 Mark 10:51; Matthew 16:13; Matthew 16:15; Matthew 12:48; Matthew 9:4; John 21:15; Luke 8:45; Mark 8:36; Luke 12:24; Luke 12:26; John 20:15; Mark 6:38; Luke 17:17; Matthew 9:28; Mark 5:39; Luke 6:46; John 13:38; Matthew 26:40; Luke 24:17; John 18:11; Matthew 27:46.

3 Quoted by Robert Christy, Proverbs, Maxims, and Phrases of All Ages (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1887), 184.