Questions of Jesus
AN INVITATION TO PRAYER AND A DEEPER FAITH
The questions of Jesus recorded in the Bible draw us into His presence, invite us into prayer, strengthen and deepen our faith, and help us to identify what we believe and why.
Like the rabbis of His time, Jesus taught by asking thought-provoking questions, frequently answering His followers’ questions with questions of His own. The New Testament records 307 questions asked by Jesus and 183 asked of Him, but only eight questions that He answered directly.
What would our faith look like if we started to live into the questions of Jesus – if, instead of simply reading about the questions, we began to participate in them and personally answer them as if Jesus Himself was asking each of us those very same questions today?
Can you imagine walking down the hallway with Jesus, sitting across from Him at the dinner table, or sharing a cup of morning coffee with Him? Imagine praying hand in hand with Jesus at the end of a hard day. Can you picture Him working beside you as you clean the house, weed the garden, drive to the office, or watch your favorite show on TV?
IMAGINE JESUS PERSONALLY ASKING YOU:
- What are you looking for?
- Who are you looking for?
- Why are you so afraid?
- Do you understand what I have done for you?
- Have I not chosen you?
- Do you still not understand?
- Do you love me?
These are sobering questions, cutting straight to the marrow of what matters (slicing through our accomplishments, our pride, and our finely-honed 21st-century sensibilities), questions that pierce our souls with the burning coal of truth, with the sweet agony of transforming our souls question by question (but never through coercion). The questions of Jesus always held a wide-open and wildly generous invitation to become a little bit more like Him.
JESUS WAS A MASTER TEACHER
Jesus was a master teacher who asked exceptional questions.
… a question is a powerful thing, a mighty use of words … a simple question can be precisely what’s needed to drive to the heart of the matter; it’s hard to meet a simplistic question with anything but a simplistic answer. It’s hard to transcend a combative question. But it’s hard to resist a generous question. We all have it in us to formulate questions that invite honesty, dignity, and revelation. There is something redemptive and life-giving about asking better questions. (Kara Tippetts)
Jesus asked acutely “generous questions” that invite “honesty, dignity, and revelation” still today. Some of His questions will make us uncomfortable. Some of them will sting. Transformation is seldom painless or easy, but it is always an invitation.
The first question recorded in the Old Testament is the one Satan asked Eve: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1)
Eight verses later, God asked His first recorded question: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). That’s a question with some teeth. God didn’t need the information. He knew exactly where Adam was and why he was hiding. Instead, God asked a question with which Adam would have to wrestle, a question with which humanity still has to wrestle.
JESUS’ QUESTIONS ARE STILL RELEVANT TODAY
Jesus’ questions are as relevant today as they were in the first century – and while He doesn’t need our answers any more than God needed Adam’s, His questions invite us to open our hearts, to trust Him willingly, and to vulnerably and authentically respond, so that little by little and line by line, we can be transformed into the likeness of the One who loves us beyond all imagining.
HOW TO ASK THE QUESTIONS OF JESUS
Of the 307 questions of Jesus recorded in the Bible, 139 are listed here. That’s two or three questions a week for one year or about one question every other day.
Let the questions meet you where you are. Sit with each one. Prayerfully ponder a verse by itself before reading it in its Biblical context, as if Jesus was personally asking you the question today. Think about it as you move through your day. When you’re ready, journal your thoughts. Then read the question in its original context.
May God’s living Word always be a beacon to guide you Home.
139 QUESTIONS FROM JESUS
QUESTIONS FROM MATTHEW CHAPTERS 1-11
- If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? (Matthew 5:46)
- If you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (Matthew 5:47)
- Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)
- Why do you worry about clothes? (Matthew 6:28)
- Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3)
- Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16)
- Why are you so afraid? (Matthew 8:26)
- Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? (Matthew 9:4)
- Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? (Matthew 9:5)
- How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? (Matthew 9:15)
- Do you believe that I am able to do this? (Matthew 9:28)
- What did you go out into the desert to see? (Matthew 11:7)
- To what can I compare this generation? (Matthew 11:16)
QUESTIONS FROM MATTHEW CHAPTERS 12-19
- If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? (Matthew 12:11)
- How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? (Matthew 12:29)
- You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? (Matthew 12:34)
- Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? (Matthew 12:48)
- Why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31)
- Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? (Matthew 15:3)
- How many loaves do you have? (Matthew 15:34)
- Do you still not understand? (Matthew 16:9)
- Who do people say the Son of Man is? (Matthew 16:13)
- Who do you say I am? (Matthew 16:15)
- What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
- What can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
- How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? (Matthew 17:17)
- From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own sons or from others? (Matthew 17:25)
- If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? (Matthew 18:12)
- Why do you ask me about what is good? (Matthew 19:17)
QUESTIONS FROM MATTHEW CHAPTERS 20-27
- What is it you want? (Matthew 20:21)
- Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? (Matthew 20:22)
- What do you want me to do for you? (Matthew 20:32)
- John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven or from men? (Matthew 21:25)
- What do you think? (Matthew 21:28)
- Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;…? (Matthew 21:42)
- Why are you trying to trap me? (Matthew 22:18)
- What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he? (Matthew 22:42)
- Which is greater: the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? Which is greater: the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? (Matthew 23:17-19)
- How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33)
- Why are you bothering this woman? (Matthew 26:10)
- Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? (Matthew 26:40)
- Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)
- But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? (Matthew 26:54)
- Am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? (Matthew 26:55)
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
QUESTIONS FROM MARK CHAPTERS 2-7
- Why are you thinking these things? (Mark 2:8)
- Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? (Mark 4:21)
- What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? (Mark 4:30)
- Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? (Mark 4:40)
- What is your name? (Mark 5:9)
- Who touched my clothes? (Mark 5:30)
- Why all this commotion and wailing? (Mark 5:39)
- Are you so dull? (Mark 7:18)
- Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him “unclean?” (Mark 7:18)
QUESTIONS FROM MARK CHAPTERS 8-14
- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? (Mark 8:12)
- Why are you talking about having no bread? (Mark 8:17)
- Do you still not see or understand? (Mark 8:17)
- Are your hearts hardened? (Mark 8:17)
- Do you have eyes but fail to see and ears but fail to hear? (Mark 8:18)
- And don’t you remember? (Mark 8:18)
- When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? (Mark 8:19)
- When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? (Mark 8:20)
- Do you still not understand? (Mark 8:21)
- [To the blind man] Do you see anything? (Mark 8:23)
- Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? (Mark 9:12)
- What were you arguing about on the road? (Mark 9:33)
- Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? (Mark 9:50, Luke 14:34)
- What did Moses command you? (Mark 10:3)
- Why do you call me good? (Mark 10:18)
- What do you want me to do for you? (Mark 10:51)
- Why are you trying to trap me? (Mark 12:15)
- Do you see all these great buildings? (Mark 13:2)
- Are you asleep? (Mark 14:37)
- Could you not keep watch for one hour? (Mark 14:37)
QUESTIONS FROM LUKE CHAPTERS 2-14
- Why were you searching for me? (Luke 2:49)
- Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49)
- Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? (Luke 5:22)
- Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk?” (Luke 5:23)
- Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
- Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25)
- What is your name? (Luke 8:30)
- Who touched me? (Luke 8:45)
- Will you be lifted up to the skies? (Luke 10:15)
- What is written in the Law? How do you read it? (Luke 10:26)
- Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? (Luke 10:36)
- Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? (Luke 11:40)
- Who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you? (Luke 12:14-15)
- Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Luke 12:25)
- Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? (Luke 12:57)
- Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? (Luke 14:31)
QUESTIONS FROM LUKE CHAPTERS 15-24
- Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (Luke 15:4)
- Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? (Luke 15:8)
- So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11)
- Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? (Luke 17:17)
- And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? (Luke 18:7)
- However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)
- For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? (Luke 22:27)
- Why are you sleeping? (Luke 22:46)
- For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Luke 23:31)
- What are you discussing together as you walk along? (Luke 24:17)
- One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. (Luke 24:18-19)
- Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory? (Luke 24:26)
- Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? (Luke 24:38)
- Do you have anything here to eat? (Luke 24:41)
QUESTIONS FROM JOHN CHAPTERS 1-7
- What do you want? (John 1:38)
- Why do you involve me? (John 2:4)
- You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things? (John 3:10)
- I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (John 3:12)
- Will you give me a drink? (John 4:7)
- Do you want to get well? (John 5:6)
- How can you believe if you accept praise from one another yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)
- Since you do not believe what (Moses) wrote, how are you going to believe what I say? (John 5:47)
- Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? (John 6:5)
- Does this offend you? (John 6:61)
- What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before? (John 6:62)
- You do not want to leave too, do you? (John 6:67)
- Have I not chosen you? (John 6:70)
- Has not Moses given you the law? (John 7:19)
- Why are you trying to kill me? (John 7:19)
- Why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? (John 7:23)
QUESTIONS FROM JOHN CHAPTERS 8-21
- Where are they? Has no one condemned you? (John 8:10)
- Why is my language not clear to you? (John 8:43)
- Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? (John 8:46)
- If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? (John 8:46)
- Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son?” (John 10:36)
- Are there not twelve hours of daylight? (John 11:9)
- Do you believe this? (John 11:26)
- Where have you laid him? (John 11:33)
- Do you understand what I have done for you? (John 13:12)
- Don’t you know me, even after I have been among you such a long time? (John 14:9)
- Who is it you want? (John 18:4,7)
- Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? (John 18:11)
- Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me? (John 18:34)
- Why question me? (John 18:21)
- If I spoke the truth, why did you strike me? (John 18:23)
- Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? ( John 20:15)
- Friends, haven’t you any fish? (John 21:5)
- Do you love me? (John 21:17)
- What is that to you? (John 21:22)
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As a teacher, Jesus Christ put many of his lessons in the form of questions. The gospels record over 100 additional questions. Some are rhetorical, needing no answer, but most were real questions posed to real people. Many of Jesus' questions are familiar to readers today, yet the context and the potential interpretations of such phrases will enlighten many.
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In the Gospels, Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asks 307 questions. He is asked 183, of which he only answers 3. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings. In fact, for every question he answers directly, he asks (literally) a hundred. Jesus is the Question considers the questions Jesus asks: what they tell us about Jesus and, more importantly, what our responses might say about what it means to follow Him.
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