Questions, Questions, Questions
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’”
Matthew 16:13 (NIV)
Children are full of questions: ‘Are we there yet?’ ‘Why do I have to go to bed now?’ or ‘Why did my pet hamster die?’ Usually children are asking a question because they want to know the answer to something they don’t know. I wonder, have you noticed that throughout the Bible God is asking questions?
After man had sinned, God asks Adam, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). After Cain had killed Abel, God asks him the question “Where is your brother Abel?” (Genesis 4:9) When Elijah was hiding in a cave God asks, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9)
Jesus continues to ask questions in the New Testament. To the man at the pool of Bethesda he asks, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) And after healing a paralysed man and knowing what the teachers of the law were thinking in their hearts he still asked “Why are you thinking these things?” (Mark 2:8)
If God is omniscient, (all-knowing), why would he ask questions? If the reason is not to add to His knowledge, why does he do it? One reason why God asks questions is to help us explore the real issues of life and for us to discover what is going on in our hearts. As with the examples quoted, God’s questions shine a light on matters which we might prefer to conceal. His questions gently uncover our privacy, not just to expose, but also to heal. God quizzes us not so that we can pass a test; not to catch us out, but to call us into a closer and deeper relationship with him. God longs to develop a rich and close relationship with us, his human creation. He is eager to help us discover him and ourselves in a deeper way. Questioning us is one way in which he accomplishes this.
When Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” he knew what was being said about him. But Jesus wanted the disciples to search their own hearts as to what they thought about him. Hence the follow up question, “But what about you?”…“Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15) He knew what the disciples thought about him, but he wanted them to think about it and speak from the heart, which Peter did, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Verse 16)
“Who do you say Jesus is?” is the most important question we can ever be asked. Jesus is asking it of us, not because he doesn’t know the answer, but because he wants us to ponder the question deep in our heart, to acknowledge him as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and to come into a more intimate relationship with him.
How will you respond?
Father, thank you for showing me that in asking questions you are inviting us to know you and ourselves better. Help me be more responsive and enter into a closer relationship with you.
Study by Barry Robinson
Barry’s son, Ben, and daughter, Hannah, volunteer as staff at S.E.P., a two-week summer activity camp that takes place on the banks of Loch Lomond, Scotland. It is sponsored and run by the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International. Camp began 24th July and runs through 6th August 2016. The camp is Christian in ethos but accepts campers from all denominations and faiths. For more information about S.E.P. visit http://www.sepuk.org or contact email@example.com
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