Summary: While there are times when Jesus became a little frustrated by the questions the disciples asked, He never got to a point where He told the disciples to stop asking questions because having questions is part of our growth as disciples.
Thaddaeus – a disciple with a question
Most of us have had experiences with five year olds – five is the year of questions. Generally these questions tend to fall into one of three categories.
• There are the easy questions … “What makes peanut butter?” “When can I go to school?”
• There are the technical questions … “How do those pictures get on the TV?” “Why is the grass green?”
• Then there are “those” questions … “Where do babies come from?” “Why don’t I have hair under my arm?”
Questions! Questions! Questions! And how many times have we gotten to the point where we have said, “Stop asking so many questions!” … “Why Dad?”
Why do people ask so many questions? Because that is how we learn. And the disciples of Jesus were exactly in the same situation. They would ask questions of Jesus all the time. In John 13-16 John tells us about one discussion that took place between Jesus and the disciples. In that one discussion they ask at least 5 questions.
• “Lord, who is it?”
• “Lord, where are You going?”
• “Lord … how can we know the way?”
• “Lord, why do You intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
• “Lord what do You mean by, ‘a little while’?”
This discussion takes place in the upper room. Tomorrow Jesus will be hanging on a cross. Tonight He teaches them and even though they have been with Jesus for more than 3 years they have so many questions.
But here is the interesting thing. Jesus never says, “Stop asking questions”. To be fair there are times when Jesus gets a little tired of the questions.
• “Are you so slow? You should really understand by now”.
• “I’m not really teaching anything that difficult. Concentrate harder”.
• “You have been with Me for such a long time, yet the penny hasn’t dropped!”
They are some of the comments which Jesus made about the questions of the disciples. However, not once will you find Jesus saying, “Stop asking questions”. When Jesus is around questions are allowable. That’s because discipleship is all about learning and growing.
Jesus’ willingness to be like this says a lot about the sort of Saviour He is. Jesus has every right to tell us what to do. That is what the Scriptures tell us:-
He has all things under His feet.
He is the head of the church.
In Him all things live and move and have their being.
As part of the God-head Jesus dictate the outcome. “I have said it. I have decided. Don’t question Me. Just obey”.
Jesus had every right to take that approach. But He doesn’t. Instead Jesus takes the way of patience, encouragement, nurture. He is willing to help us even when the questions are not the right ones. Jesus is the King who still allows His people to ask, to probe and to make comments. In fact He even allows us to have doubts and offer alternative approaches. That is Jesus. And that is the approach Jesus takes with His disciples.
Let me introduce you to one specific disciple who was allowed to do this. We don’t know a lot about this disciple except that he has two names.
These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus,
Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot,
Judas son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
The only other thing we know about this disciple is that he asked a question.
Read John 14:15-24
I don’t know about you but when you first read this section your first thought is, “What is Jesus talking about?” No wonder Thaddaeus also known as Judas son of James asks a question.
Jesus has gathered His disciples in the upper room to teach them about His impending departure.
The words Jesus spoke are more solemn and determined than any they had heard from Him before.
What did all this mean? Where would all this lead? There was so much uncertainty, so many questions. I just don’t understand.
How many times have you found yourself in that situation? Lord I just don’t understand.
Let me tell you about Tanya. She was 15 years old and she was murdered only 200 meters from her home. She had just hopped off the bus. The family had only come into the church three months before hand. It was a terrible time. Now, you would think that this would draw the church together – instead the church just fell apart. In the end I was isolated from my leadership team and I ended up leaving the denomination. It just didn’t make sense. In many ways I still don’t.