Religious leaders are supposed to be full of answers, aren’t they? But you’d never know it from listening to Jesus talk. Surprisingly he was full of questions.
Why did Jesus ask so many questions? What did he want to know? How did people avoid answering him? Jesus asked many questions but he had one single purpose in mind. The one thing he is so passionately pursuing isn’t answers – come along for the summer term and find out what he is pursuing.
This week we look at asking questions.
Children get to a certain age and all they seem to do ask questions. I don’t know if you have ever experienced that?
The Why? Questions seems to come up and awful? Why does this happen? Why do I have to do that? Why? Why? Why? No doubt there are some parents hear who have been driven to distraction by it.
Children also seem to think and expect that adults know all of the answers to life’s questions. But again there ge ta certain point in time when the children realise that adults don’t know all of the answers and it can come as areal shock to children or YP and adults alike. For adults in can be particularly hard to accept. You might come across it now trying to help children with their homework and you feel as though you are the one who needs to go to school to understand what they are trying to do.
For children it is part of their growing up and having to become mature adults. Similarly for adults the adulation for a parent that comes from a child who thinks their parents are all seeing, all knowing and all powerful – makes them sound like God doesn’t it? – means that some parents never admit that they are wrong or don’t
We have a saying in our house “That was a Peter Houghton statement”. Claire’s dad always had an answer when they were kids to every question they asked even if he did not know anything about it. He would just say whatever he said confidently and he would get away with it.
Now in Mark’s gospel in chapter 13 there is a whole load of stuff about how the world will end. A bit like if the bumble bees die out all humans will die 4 years later.
28“Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. 29And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. 30Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too-these things will happen. 31Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.
32“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. 33So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. 34It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch.
Mark 13; 28-34 (The Message)
What Einstein, like Jesus, was unable to predict was when it would happen. But it is not the events of the end time and when it will happen that we are looking at here. What I want us to look at or note is that Jesus did not know when it was going to happen either and he says he does not know it was going to happen. Even Jesus, the son of God who has such a great relationship with the Father does not know when the end will come. Only the Father knows that. Hold on a minute, Tim you are saying that Jesus did not know something. But he is the Son of God, the divine one. How can that be? If Jesus did not know everything it means he can be taught.
In one of the letters in the early church it is quite clear that Jesus gave up things when he came to live amongst us. He gave up knowing everything and being everywhere at once. It is amazing for those early Christian writers to admit that Jesus did not know some things. If they were trying to cook the books then this was a mistake because, because it makes Jesus look, well human!
But this is not the only account of Jesus’ humanity.
Have a look at this from Luke’s gospel.
46The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.
Luke 2;46 (The Message)
Jesus got lost! But he was also asking questions. It is true that all who heard him were astonished, but Jesus asked questions. Contrast that with some of the other stories about Jesus that were circulating about in the 1st Century.
There was a Gospel called “the infancy Gospel of Thomas.” In it we learn that as a boy Jesus is very powerful and barely aware of his own strength. A bit like Clarke Kent, getting used to his powers in the TV series Smallville. In the infancy Gospel of Thomas we learn that Jesus makes birds out of some clay. He then claps his hands and the birds come to life and fly off. On another occasion he is playing with a friend who falls through the roof of a house and dies, but Jesus just brings him back to life. Contrast this with what Luke reports about Jesus getting lost and asking questions. Now which Jesus would you find it easier to identify with?
Jesus asked questions all of his life. He made a habit of it. InMark’s gospel there are 67 episodes recoded of conversations taking place. Jesus asked 50 questions in those 67 accounts. If you met Jesus was he was more like to ask you something than he was to tell you something.
Jesus is always asking questions; What is Jesus asking you today?
Based on, with permission, Jesus asked. What he wanted to know Introduction, Conrad Gempf, Zondervan, 2003. http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Asked-Conrad-Gempf/dp/031024773X. To learn more about Conrad go to http://www.lst.ac.uk/index.php?pageid=71