Another RZIM devotional today. Made me think.
I love questions – good ones, that is. Call it an occupational hazard. Or it might have been a love for questions that drew me into the work in the first place… But yes, good questions are intriguing, and can have profound impact. Some of the questions asked by Jesus below have spoken to me personally in past seasons, and a few others continue to be focal points today. There are many more too – questions which have come out of reading His Word, appearing between the lines.
I ‘hear’ the questions clearly, but often, the answers look like this:
Hehe. Can be frustrating. Then I realise… maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, or for the wrong answers. Or both. Maybe I just need to take the questions as they are – little mercies meant to keep me faithful on the narrow path.
The questions can be answers in themselves, by the things they reveal. .. And answers? Well, sometimes answers turn out to be more frustrating than the questions themselves! So there.
If God thinks an answer is necessary, He will see to it. In His time.
… anyone who has ever heard or asked a great question, asked at the right time, will immediately know why good, careful, thoughtful questions are always worth asking… Here are just a few of the questions of Jesus:
What are you looking for?
What do you want me to do for you?
Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me?
If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Do you want to be well?
Do you see this woman?
What good is it to gain the whole world but forfeit your soul?
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Who is greater, the one seated at the table, or the one who serves?
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
Which of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish?
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I command?
Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
For which of these good works are you trying to stone me?
Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?
Would you like some breakfast?
Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
Do you love me?
… when Jesus asked a question it suddenly brought everything into focus, not just for the one he was asking, but for everyone listening as well. Jesus’s often subversive questions summarize and lift up the prevailing authority structures, symbols, and assumptions. His questions lift them high up into the air for inspection, so that everyone can see more clearly the motives, traditions, assumptions, and all the wildness that often rages under the surface.
Questions can help us to concentrate, pay attention, and think together. A good question can transform a meandering discussion into a life-changing moment, when reality breaks through illusion. In these moments, when we gently ask the right questions of ourselves or others, we can sometimes get under a question, and meet the one behind it. In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger. Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.” The message of Christ comes in power, reality, and compassion and is able to answer the deeper questions that come bursting out when the door is opened.