Jesus asked questions
Most are “Socratic Method” style of questioning…
These are not things Jesus is wondering about – these are questions designed to help the hearer work through what they believe.
It is a dialectical method (dialog-based), often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer’s own point.
The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about some topic, exploring the definitions… Aristotle attributed to Socrates the discovery of the method of definition and induction, which he regarded as the essence of the scientific method.
35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’
37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”
The large crowd listened to him with delight.
A question was often Jesus’ way to open up a conversation, to move an interaction from mundane to miraculous…
The woman at the well –
The road to Emmaus – what are you talking about?
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Do you want to get well?”
Jesus also asked profound, personal questions as he faced suffering, loss, and loneliness.
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. (John 12:27 NIV)
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53, 54 NIV)
And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). (Mark 15:34 NIV)
Jesus asked questions to teach, to open doors of conversation, and because they expressed his pain and struggle. Questions are important to our dialog. If we’re going to have open doors of conversation, questions are key.
Jesus was asked a lot of questions
His response depended on who was asking, and what was in their heart.
With the religious who were trying to trap him, he was harsh, argumentative, and authoritative. Most often, he would answer with another question
“good teacher…” “why do you say I am good?”
“should we pay taxes to Caesar?” “Who’s inscription is on this coin?”
With the non-religious who had honest questions, he was interested and engaging.
He was secure.
He recognized that whether the answer to a question would be received depended entirely on the openness of the questioner’s heart.
He knew some arguments were pointless, and refused to answer.
“Then neither will I tell you by whose authority I do these things”
He wasn’t threatened by doubt.
Has anyone ever questioned your faith (vigorously)? Tell your table about that. Did you have the right answers? Did they leave convinced? How did you feel afterward?
Describe a time someone asked you a good question to open up the conversation, then listened to your thoughts. What was the result?
Is the church a safe place for questions and doubt? Should it be? What are some ways we can or have made it unsafe?
One more thing: Jesus and doubt.
How did Jesus respond to doubters?
“You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
This is less of an indictment, more of a coach’s prodding.
All these men “of little faith” died for believing in Jesus (except John, who died in exile / prison). That is quite a lot of faith.
Peter – “you almost had it – don’t give up next time,”
Thomas – “Blessed are you…”
Is it possible that Jesus, who was God, who actually HAD all the answers, is more patient with questions and doubt than we are?