Jesus asked a LOT of questions in his years walking this earth. By one estimate, he asks a total of 307 questions that are recorded in the Gospels. What makes that number truly surprising is how few questions he actually answered. We only have 8 recorded answers that Jesus gave. It would seem the questions Jesus asked were far more important to him than the answers he gave.
Since questions were important to Jesus, I want to dive a little deeper into what these questions Jesus asked were and what they mean for us.
Questions > Answers
Have you ever thought that if Jesus was physically right beside you then you would get answers to those questions you’ve been longing for? You’d think if the creator of the universe, the person who literally knows it ALL, was standing beside you, he could give you that answer you’ve been searching for.
But that’s not what we see in the Gospels. Don’t get me wrong, people tried to ask him questions all the time, but he rarely answered them and instead responded with a question of his own.
Think about that for a minute. Jesus, God in flesh, more often than not, asked questions and avoided giving answers.
I don’t know about you, but this is not how I operate. My initial reaction is to give an answer. After all, I was asked the question, therefore, I must be the expert. At least that’s what the prideful part of me says. And that’s probably most of us. When asked a question, we give an answer. Why? Because we think answers are more important than questions.
But Jesus didn’t do that. And shocker… Maybe Jesus knows something we don’t. Maybe he’s on to something. You see, I think Jesus knows that those answers we seek won’t give us what we hope. So instead he gives us questions- which cause us to think, to dissect our lives, and to see what’s ultimately important.
When I think about the people that made the biggest impact on my life, it’s not the person that gave me a lecture about what I should be doing. Rather, it’s the person that helped me reflect on my life and set it on a better course. How’d they do that? Lots of questions.
That’s exactly what Jesus does. When we look at the questions Jesus asked, what we see is he is helping the people he’s interacting with evaluate their lives and set a better course.
Answers are overrated. We think we need them, but in many cases, they don’t give us what we’d hoped. Questions are greater than answers.
So let’s take a look at the questions Jesus asked.
Questions Jesus Asked
With over 300 questions asked by Jesus, there’s no way we can get through them all in one blog post. So what I want to do is look at the broader categories of questions Jesus asked and see what we can learn from them.
Below is not an exhaustive list. I will focus on a few of the broad categories of questions, rather than cataloging each question Jesus asked. There are some categories of questions Jesus asked that I excluded due to space- such as Jesus’ trial, on the cross, and the resurrection although Jesus asked a TON of questions in those times. I tried to focus on categories of questions that have the most impact on our faith today.
If you are looking for just the raw questions with little explanation, check out this article: Questions Jesus Asked
Alright, let’s dive into the categories of questions Jesus asked.
Questions Of Invitation
Early in the Gospels, Jesus was busy recruiting his disciples and inviting them to follow him. Interestingly, a common question of invitation Jesus asked was, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
Jesus asked a question that got to their hearts. Is your current way of living really getting you what you want? No? Then follow me and I will give you what you are truly after.
Jesus continued to use this style of questioning throughout his ministry. He asked questions to uncover people’s motives and then invited them to follow him. (John 18:7, John 20:15, Luke 2:49)
Maybe we can learn from this question Jesus asked. Rather than just telling people what they should do, we should ask a question that causes them to evaluate what they are really after in life. A question can help someone dig deeper.
Questions Of Identity
“Who do people say I am? Who do you say I am?” – Jesus (Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20; Matthew 16:13-15)
What an interesting question for Jesus to ask. Now I don’t think Jesus is curious about what people think about him. He already knows their thoughts and knows what others say about him. Jesus is after something else.
Jesus is using this question of identity to point his followers to where their identity lies. These questions Jesus asked were directed at helping his followers see who he really was and the implications that held for them.
Again, rather than just telling them who he was and what to believe, Jesus used a question to help them truly understand who he was. When we are told a fact, it’s not really ours. When we have to stop and process to arrive at a conclusion, it becomes part of who we are. That’s what Jesus is doing. He’s causing his followers to pause and contemplate who he really is.
Questions Of Intent
When asked a question Jesus would sometimes respond with another question. These follow up questions helped reveal what was truly on their heart (Matthew 7:3-4; Luke 5:22, Matthew 9:4).
This is in essence what the parable of the Good Samaritan is (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus was asked a question of what is needed for eternal life. Instead of answering, Jesus tells this incredible story and ends with this question: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
I’ve written about the story of the Good Samaritan here: Who Is My Neighbor?
Why tell a story and ask a question? Jesus was trying to show the lawyer (who asked the question) that he was going about it the wrong way. His intent was wrong. He was trying to get the lawyer to evaluate his life and his heart and see that his intentions were off.
The questions Jesus asked of intent helped those on the receiving end evaluate their life and see where their hearts were truly at.
Questions Of Healing and Compassion
Jesus often asked questions that had seemingly obvious answers.
Here are some:
- Do you see anything? (Mark 8:23) – Said to a blind man.
- Do you see this woman? (Luke 7:44) – Said to a woman right beside him.
- Is there no one to condemn you? (John 8:10) – Said to a woman after everyone left.
- Does the Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not? (Luke 14:3) – Said to the religious leaders.
- And my favorite that Jesus asked a paralyzed man: Do you want to get well? (John 5:6)
Do you know what all these questions have in common? They center around someone in need.
These questions Jesus asked reveal something important; actually two things.
First, Jesus cares about the problems we are facing and wants to bring healing. BUT- He will only do it if we allow it. Permission is sacred. The questions are an invitation to a better life.
For more about why permission is sacred, check out: What Revelation 3:20 Really Means
Second, Jesus wants his followers to have the same compassion he has. Maybe you noticed half the questions listed above are directed at someone that objected to Jesus healing/interacting with someone in need. Jesus is using a question to help them see their compassion is lacking.
Questions Of Life and Faith
Many of the questions Jesus asked centered around life and faith. These questions were aimed at causing a person to pause and reflect on what’s really important- to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Jesus asked these questions to help us see what we so often focus on isn’t what’s most important.
Here are a few examples.
- What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Matthew 16:26)
- Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:26)
- Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Are you not of more value than the birds of the air? (Matthew 6:25-26)
- If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? (Luke 11:11-13)
These questions reveal that we are often focused on the wrong thing. Don’t miss this… I don’t think we are always focused on a bad thing… Just a less important thing. We get distracted so easily by something less important. But Jesus doesn’t want us to lose sight of what’s most important.
These questions Jesus asked help us see what we have made most important and correct the priorities in our life.
Questions Of Love
I choose to end with these questions because I think they are the most incredible questions Jesus asked. He lays his heart on the line in moments of incredible vulnerability and shows his humanity.
It’s in these questions, Jesus asks his disciples if they truly love him. If they actually want to be with him.
The first one comes in John 6. After Jesus teaches a very hard lesson, everyone listening decides following Jesus is too difficult and they get up and leave. Now it’s just Jesus and the 12 disciples; and he turns and asks: You do not want to leave too, do you? (John 6:67)
I think this question reveals an incredibly vulnerable moment. Jesus desires a relationship with his disciples (and all people) but they have to choose it. He will not force anyone. Jesus asks this question in hopes they will choose a relationship with him over other pursuits in life. Jesus asks a question of invitation, rather than demand obedience. Why? Because he loves us.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post! I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below about what you thought of the questions Jesus asked.
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