Summary: Questions are often not mere inquiries; there is an agenda behind them. We need to answer according to the situation, like Jesus did.

When Questions Aren’t Questions

(Matt. 21:23-22:43; Luke 20:20-40; Mark 12:28-34)

1. You cannot win with some people:

A new body repairman was just breaking in at the car shop. He was working on his first official project, a banged up car. He made significant repairs, taking his time, feeling the edges, and touching up to the point of perfection. It was feathered out perfectly.

Soon the customer came by. To the bodyman’s surprise, he began complaining. The repairman could not understand. The owner showed him the side of the car. He said the paint didn’t match, there were all sorts of bumps and valleys—it was horrible. He raised his voice, demanding an explanation and threatend to refuse paying for the repairs. "Well," the repairman offered, "All I can say is that the repairs I made were on the other side of your car!"

2. Jesus, likewise, could not win with some people. They pretended like they had questions, but no matter how wisely or correctly Jesus answered, they were not going to believe.

Proverbs 26:4-5,"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."

Proverbs 15:28, "The heart of the righteous weighs its answers..."

Proverbs 26:16, "The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly."

3. There is a sinfulness in human nature that shows itself like this: if I like you, you can do no wrong; if I dislike you, you can do no right.

4. Few things irritate me about people as much as when this attitude displays itself; it is the heart of insincerity, dishonesty, disrespect for truth. People get to the point where they do not even know they are lying or re-adjusting truth to fit their preconceived ideas.

5. I am sure Jesus was aggravated about this. The stubborn deceitfulness of the human heart and the narrowness of the human mind caused Him to say things like, "How long must I put up with this generation?"

MAIN IDEA: Jesus was asked many questions that were not sincere inquiries, and He handled them with wisdom and boldness. So we too are in a battle for the souls of men, and this battle is often fought in the realm of the mind.

TS----- Like Jesus, we must analyze the nature of an inquiry and choose from among several types of responses to use. We must learn to give a discreet answer. Let’s look at several types of questions and Jesus responses.

I. A Question that Is Really An Objection: Jesus’ Answer: An Indirect One (Matt. 21:23-22:14)

1. Jesus teaching in the Temple Courts….Jewish leaders approach Him

2. By what authority do you do these things (turn over tables, receive the acclaim of crowds on Palm Sunday, teach, etc.)

(1) the question: who ordained you? (3 elders of synagogue, one ordained)

(2) What are your credentials?

(3) Purpose: to embarrass Jesus….

Who has authority over your life? spouse, employers, parents, teachers, doctors police, etc. Why gives a right for these people to be in authority over us?

We recognize their authority, rights over us, and we by and large trust their judgment....

3. Jesus avoids having to give a direct answer by challenging them (giving them their own medicine): The baptism of John, of men or of God…

4. He answers clearly but indirectly through parables…

(1) A man planted a vineyard; he rented it out….

(2) Matt. 21:42 (Jewish understanding = David)

5. Jesus is the son sent by the owner, and the Jewish leadership would kill Him rather than submit to the true God…

Application: Sometimes we Christians need to be indirect; because something is true does not mean we need to blurt it out or speak up….Jesus certainly felt no obligation to do so---He was often indirect and occasionally evasive…people often need to be led to see truth---cannot cram it down their throats…

II. A Question that Was A Trap; Jesus’ Response: A Deep Answer (Matt. 21:15-22)

1. Sometimes people want to ask a question that cannot be answered simply; they have to be willing to think…

2. Sometimes they ask such questions to try to trap us…

(1) If God can do anything, can God make a rock He cannot lift?

(2) You have your religion and I have mine. Isn’t mine as good as yours?

(3) How can you say God is three and one at the same time?

3. These sorts of questions have answers, but if we answer them simply we often find our answer inaccurate and incomplete. I sometimes tell people I can answer them, but they have to be willing to think and listen. If they are not, I will not bother to tackle them.

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