Why Jesus Asked Questions

Jesus asked the most important question in history.

He asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13, ESV).

For all of us, eternity lies in answering this one question right. Peter gave the correct answer when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

In the Gospels, Jesus asked about 300 questions. He gave nine beatitudes. I love the “I am” statements of Jesus … I am the way, the truth, and the life! (John 14:6) … but He gave only seven “I am’s” in the Gospel of John.  

Jesus often asked questions instead of teaching directly. He did this to help us arrive at the truth.

But there is a difference between the questions that Jesus asked and the questions we often hear today. Jesus asked questions to attract people to His light, while current questions can detract from the truth about Jesus and of scripture.

Questions can be both helpful and utterly destructive.

Satan asked Eve a question, Pilate asked a question about truth, and the Pharisees often asked questions to trick Jesus. Of the 180 questions that Jesus was asked in the New Testament, he directly answered only three.

Let’s consider several questions that Jesus asked and consider what we can learn from them …

What do you want me to do for you? (Matthew 20:32)

Jesus didn’t heal two blind men until they told him what they wanted. There is a rule of specificity in prayer in which we learn to ask for exactly what we need. These are the prayers that Jesus answers then and now.

Do you want to be healed? (John 5:6)

This is an odd question for Jesus to ask a man who had been ill for 38 years. 

Yet, as a pastor for decades, I’ve noted that many people who came to me for advice didn’t want the truth. They wanted pastoral agreement or support for their side of the story.  

They didn’t want healing, they wanted justification.

Why are you afraid, O you of little faith? (Matthew 8:26)

Faith pokes at our fears.  

The questions that Jesus asked did the same to his apostles as His questions challenged their presuppositions about a political messiah, that God could become flesh, and that salvation isn’t a matter of good works. 

If we listen closely to the Spirit of God during our devotions, we notice that Jesus is still asking questions today. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 9:1 …

I am speaking the truth in Christ – I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit.  

As followers of Jesus, we have a Spirit-given conscience. My conscience asks me a lot of questions – Why did you do that? Why did you say that? Is that really the attitude of Christ?

And, if I answer these questions correctly, my life goes a lot better.

That’s the problem with questions – we ask them to hide from the truth, and we obfuscate our answers to the questions that are convicting us.

Fortunately, Jesus will continue to ask questions until we get the correct answers.

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