Summary: Jesus wants to know...Do you know it? Do you show it?
“Are You Not in Error…?”
Rev. Brian Bill
A father and son went fishing one day and while they were out in their boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him and started asking questions. He asked his father, “Dad, what makes this boat float?” The father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.” A little later, the boy looked at his father and asked, “Dad, how do fish breathe underwater?” Once again the father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.”
A few minutes later the boy asked his father, “Dad, why is the sky blue?” Again, the father replied, “Don’t rightly know, son.” Finally, the boy asked, “Dad, do you mind me asking you all of these questions?” The father replied, “Of course not, son. If you don’t ask questions, you never learn nothin.’” (Submitted by Gary Reinhardt)
Have you noticed how many people have questions for God? I’d like to hear some of the questions you’ve heard or asked yourself. Just shout them out.
Here are some that I’ve heard…
* How could God allow someone so close to me to die?
* Why didn’t God stop the abuse I went through as a child?
* Why are there so many hypocrites in the church?
* If God is good why do bad things happen?
* How did the Packers lose to the Bears last week?
Do you know that God has some questions for us? His first question appears in Genesis 3:9 and was asked specifically of Adam after he and Eve sinned and tried to hide from Him: “Where are you?” That question resonates across the centuries as God still wonders where everyone is in relation to Him. Humanity has been hiding from the Holy One ever since. Here’s a question. Are you hiding from Him or have you been found?
For the next seven weeks we’re going to look not at the questions we might have but at the questions that Christ has. There are some things that Jesus wants to know…and some things He wants us to know about ourselves.
As the master-teacher, Jesus asked a lot of questions. Depending on how you count them, there are over 180 recorded in the Gospels. Incidentally, He asked more questions than He answered. You don’t have to go very far to find Him asking questions. When he was just 12 years old he was left behind in the Temple and Luke 2:46 says that he “was asking questions” of the teachers. In Luke 2:49 we hear his first questions: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
While it is not possible to categorize all of the questions, I see four different forms.
Kinds of Questions
1. Confirming questions. The answers to some of the questions Jesus asked were simply self-evident and easily answered. Jesus asked these kinds of questions to get people to verbally confirm the obvious. Examples of this include: “What is your name? What were you arguing about on the road? When I fed the 5,000, how much was left over? How many loaves do you have?” While the answers were obvious, the implications were often very unsettling.
2. Complex questions. Some of the questions Jesus asked were so profound that they forced people to rethink their positions and priorities, especially when the questions had no good answer like this one in Matthew 7:3: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Here’s another one from Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”
3. Comforting questions. Jesus also asked questions to communicate comfort to people. I’m reminded of what He asked the woman caught in adultery in John 8:10-11: “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”
4. Convicting questions. Many questions that Jesus asked had a convicting force behind them, especially when he would answer a question with a question like He did in Mark 11:27-33. The Pharisees loved a good argument but Jesus rarely gave them one. Instead, He asked provocative and very personal questions. Turn to Matthew 15:2-3 for an example. A few Pharisees and some teachers of the law questioned why the disciples of Jesus broke the tradition of the elders by not washing their hands before they ate (I broke this one a lot growing up).
Jesus’ answer was stunning and very strong: “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” Here’s another one from Luke 6:46: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Questions have a way of penetrating a person’s heart.