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Our Lord's Questions (4)

C Logan, Botswana

The questions our Lord was asked

The questions our Lord asked and those He was asked by others were often two sides of the same conversation. Some asked Him questions with a sincere motive, and others asked insincerely with malicious intent.

Sincere questions

When a person questioned the Lord Jesus with a sincere motive He met them at their point of need. Some who lacked understanding needed to be enlightened as to the Saviour's true mission in the world. Such were John the Baptist: "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" (Mt 3.14), and Peter: "Lord, dost thou wash my feet? (Jn 13.6). Later on, when John was in prison, he needed reassurance: "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Mt 11.3-6). This was duly given.

When we are perplexed and anxious, we need comfort and encouragement. It is also true that under pressure we can sometimes blurt out words that we later regret. When the disciples feared for their lives and demanded, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mk 4.38), the Saviour immediately calmed the storm. The two on the way to Emmaus were downhearted: "Art thou only a stranger...and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" (Lk 24.18), but they soon learned of the Stranger's true identity and were greatly cheered.

There were many others who were earnest seekers after truth. Nathanael: "Whence knowest thou me?" (Jn 1.48); Nicodemus: "How can these things be?" (Jn 3.9); the woman of Samaria: "From whence then hast thou that living water?" (Jn 4.11); Thomas: "How can we know the way?" (Jn 14.5). All of these heard the truth and found the help they sought.

Insincere questions

The enemies of Christ were relentless. They confronted Him in public with loaded questions, hoping to entangle and catch Him in His words, so that they might accuse Him (Mk 10.2; 12.13; Lk 11.54; Jn 8.6).

The chief priests and elders challenged His authority; the Pharisees and Herodians questioned Him about giving tribute to Caesar; the Sadducees asked Him about marriage after resurrection (Mt 21.23; 22.17; 22.28). As we have already seen, our Lord answered some of their questions by asking another one. This was not done to be evasive but rather to counter their malice and expose their perverted reasoning. He told them, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures", and challenged them, "Have ye not read...?" (Mt 22.29-32).

Towards the end of His life the Lord Jesus was interrogated by the high priest; then by Herod and Pilate. Some of their questions were met with silence (Mk 14.61; Lk 23.9; Jn 19.9). He refused to indulge these men by engaging in a pointless debate when the truth was obvious and they had deliberately turned away from it.

Some lessons to consider

1. Our Lord is omniscient. He knows everything and understands every situation we face through the ups and downs of life. He has the power to carry us through.

2. He is the Great Teacher of those who believe in Him. Through His Word and by His Spirit He will challenge us, so that we might become more like Him.

3. In our daily communion with Him, He wants us to engage in a frank two-way conversation. He will speak to us through His Word and we should speak with Him in prayer.

4. His hard questions that search our hearts should not be avoided or silenced. By facing up to them honestly we can learn and make necessary adjustments in our lives. Our Lord seeks to bless us more and more.

5. The Master will allow us to question Him, even when our faith is small and our understanding is limited. We can pour out our hearts before Him at any time. He is no stranger to trials and temptations.

6. There are fundamental questions that all men should ask themselves as to who they are, what life is about, and where they are heading. The message of the gospel addresses these vital issues.

7. A wise teacher of God's Word will seek occasional opportunities to question his listeners in private, establishing whether or not they understood what he has taught. Sometimes he may have to go back to the drawing board. Unlike us, our Lord was never deficient in this respect; it was His hearers alone who came up short.

8. The sincere questions of an earnest seeker after truth should be dealt with graciously, no matter how naive or misguided they may sound. Some have been silenced forever by being mishandled on such an occasion.

9. Seemingly innocent questions are sometimes asked with malice. Spiritual perception is required. Some questions fuel doubts and should be avoided. All of us need to be careful about what we listen to and what we read.

10. There are times when silence is the best answer and we do not need to seek to justify ourselves in the face of criticism.

11. Common questions such as "Who?", "When?", "Where?", "What?", "How?", and "Why" can open many doors to our understanding as we study His Word.

12. Many of the "Whys" in our personal lives - "Why has God allowed this to happen?"; "Why has it happened to me?"; "Why has it happened to me now?" - may have to remain unanswered until we get home to heaven. When we do learn of God's purposes in all of life's varied experiences, then we will surely praise Him for His wisdom, grace and love. 



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