Hi friends, in her recent Slice of Infinity article, “A Space for Questions”, Margaret Manning makes these observations:
It might come as a surprise—even to those who claim to be Christians—that Jesus asked more questions than he answered, at least as his life is recorded and revealed in the gospel narratives. According to author Martin Copenhaver in his systematic study of the questions of Jesus, Jesus asked 307 questions. Furthermore, he is asked 183 questions of which he answers three.(1) In fact, asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and to the way he taught those who followed him. More than using didactic teaching, Jesus often explored the reality of the kingdom by asking questions, or by telling stories or through using metaphor. Far from presenting easy answers, Jesus often left questions unanswered, or his teaching unexplained.
But Jesus did not simply ask questions or leave them unanswered simply to be mysterious or enigmatic. His questions took his listeners deeper into wonder, discovery, and into discomfort: Do you wish to get well? What do you want me to do for you? Who do you say that I am? Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ but do not do what I tell you? Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?(2) Significantly, Jesus’s questions went straight to the heart of the matter. They were piercingly intimate and vulnerable, as when he asked his disciples if they wanted to ‘go away’ after he gave the very complex teaching about consuming his body and blood as recorded in John 6. Far from requiring immediate answers, the questions from Jesus were asked to prompt careful and considered reflection, even as they invited the listener to wonder and amazement: Who then is this that even the wind and the seas obey him? Even Jesus asked the question that resounds on the lips and in the hearts of humans throughout the ages: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
To add another, complementary thought… today in chapel at RZIM’s headquarters, Cameron McAllister shared some reflections on how our culture values doubt. It appears more intelligent, honest, and authentic than dogmatic faith. Another benefit: simply by asking questions, you can come across as a more intelligent, honest, and authentic person!
Naturally, these reflections led me to a few questions!
- What questions are you asking today?
- How are you stimulating spiritual curiosity among your family and friends?
- What questions are you hearing from your neighbors?
- How can you grow in your own curiosity and desire to ask questions?
The study of apologetics and evangelism is going to involve asking many questions - about ourselves, about God, about ideas, and to our friends… let’s dig in!