Further, you can listen to his beautiful ethical teaching, the highest the world has known. Sit with him on the mountain as he calls on you to rejoice when you are persecuted, to lay up treasures in heaven, to love your enemies.
And yet, at the end of the day, we are still left with this question: who is this man? To get closer to an answer, we have to grasp a fundamental but little-noted fact about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. He engaged his listeners, both friend and foe, in conversation. Jesus didn’t just teach; he didn’t just command; he also asked questions-and lots of them. The four Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John-plus Acts, reproduce nearly three hundred questions from the lips of Jesus, such as the one he asked the cowering disciples in the boat.’
While many have analyzed Jesus’s commands and acts as recorded in the New Testament, few have delved deeply into the questions he asked during his brief time of earthly ministry. Jesus scholars break down his teaching ministry in many different ways. Marcus Borg, for example, separates out parables and aphorisms as primary (doubting the historicity of some of the longer discourses), and blends in Jesus’s questions with the rest of his teachings.6 And yet many of these questions have vital application for our lives today and deserve our close attention.
Mary Schaller of Q Place (formerly Neighborhood Bible Studies) notes that Jesus’s questions possess contemporary application for a church increasingly swamped by a Western secularism that craves relationship. She contrasts his dialogical approach with our penchant for monologue. “Questions make us think,” Schaller says. “As a church culture, we want to tell people, and it’s really not effective. Good questions, such as Jesus asked, create dialogue.”‘
The Lord’s commands invite obedience and fear. His actions, such as his death and resurrection, provoke awe and thankfulness. But his questions prompt our participation, inspection, and reflection. His questions draw us into the mind of God and invite us to grow as we walk with him. As we grapple with Jesus’s questions, we learn what we truly believe-and what we don’t.
Stan Guthrie. All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us (p. 16). Kindle Edition.