a question

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.                     Luke 18:18-19


Have you ever noticed that Jesus often answers a question with another question?


Why does he do that? Why not just speak clearly so people can more easily understand? Is he trying to get us to think of something specific? Is it just that he wants us to consider more? Is it just a challenge to dive beneath the surface and the superficial?


Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?   Matthew 9:14-15

Is it perhaps simply that God dearly loves an honest question? Could it be that Jesus does not wish to simply dispense thoughtless answers? Is he trying to initiate deeper interaction?


Why does it sometimes feel like one question just leads to another which leads to another?


Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?        Matthew 12:10-11


Is Jesus just trying to avoid awkward conversations? Is this a tactic to change the subject? To bring things around to a topic he would rather discuss? Is he just trying to shift the attention off himself?


Is this a refusal? A distraction? Or is it an invitation?


Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” 

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?           John 11:7-9


Do you ever wonder if his questions mean anything? Does it ever simply feel like it’s a game of verbal sparring that has not real point other than to confuse?


But could it be no more than that? Would the Son of God leave his heavenly home and distance himself from Father and Spirit simply to toy with our meager understanding and then suffer tragic death for us? Or could the questions lead to more? To much, much more?


Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me?         John 13:37-38


Will we take time to consider Jesus’ questions? Will we pause and receive the questions God lays on hearts when we offer prayers filled with questions to him? What is Jesus asking you? Why not consider it? Where is it leading? Will you follow?


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