Telling Questions

Am not. Are too. AM NOT! ARE TOO!

If you have siblings, you probably remember this argument. We don’t like to be in the wrong, especially  when accused by someone else; we stiffen in defense. When we figure out a truth about ourselves on our own, though, we’re forced to admit it or to lie to ourselves.

Throughout the Scripture, God uses a tactic to help people arrive at hard truths without pointing them out with a wagging finger. Remember Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

“Where are you?” “What have you done?” God surely knows the answers to those questions. 

Like His father, Jesus uses questions to help people arrive at truths. The questions aren’t all corrections. For instance, in Genesis 16, the angel of the Lord asks Hagar, “Where have you come from and where are you going?” He is, in effect, not only asking Hagar to evaluate what she is doing in order to see her wrong, but also reassuring her that He sees her and understands the difficulty of her situation. She affirms this when she says, “‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’”

In John 5:6, Jesus asks,” Do you want to be healed?” One would think that someone who had been an invalid for 38 years would desperately want to be healed, but perhaps Jesus asks a multitude of questions with that one sentence. He could be asking, “Do you want to be forgiven?” “Have you grown accustomed with a dependent lifestyle or peoples’ pity?” or Jesus could be saying, “It’s never too late to be healed, forgiven or loved. Though you’ve become a fixture at this pool, I notice you and am willing to heal you.”

Isn’t this a great tactic? He questions people to help them recognize what’s in their own heads and hearts. If you read through Mark, you might be surprised at how often Jesus tells the kernel of a matter through a question.

Try to figure out in each example what Jesus is prompting the listeners to conclude.

  1. “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk?’” Mark 2:8-9 
  2. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
  3. “Who touched my garments?” Mark 5:30

His questions force the listener to examine his secret thoughts. Here’s my take on the questions above, though I am not a Biblical scholar.

  1. You’re questioning, because you don’t want to admit my authority, because then you would have to admit my identity. Forgiving sins and healing both require supernatural, God-power. You do not accept Me as God, even when I demonstrate my authority to forgive sins by healing the paralytic man.
  2. You are afraid, because you do not trust Me. You do not trust Me, because you don’t really believe that I have power over all things, including nature.
  3. I know who you are, but you tried to sneak healing from me. You must allow me to acknowledge you before these people and to bless you publicly with healing and with peace. Physical healing is the small thing, but relationship with me is much more; it is lasting peace.

When I write, God often questions my words, even as I write them. “Do you really believe that?” “Are you being honest?” “Is that consistent with what my Word teaches?” The time which writing requires to type or handwrite allows God to point out truth to me. His questions help me untangle my confused thoughts and conflicting feelings.

What questions might Jesus be asking you right now?

Are you dubious of His identity as God?

Are you avoiding or rejecting His authority in your life?

Do you trust Him and His ability to control all things?

Are you tip-toeing around Jesus, hoping he won’t notice you? 

Do you want His blessing without wanting Him?

What are you afraid of?

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