Celebrating the 12th Anniversary of LeadingWithQuestions.com

All this week, we are celebrating the 12th Anniversary of LeadingWithQuestions.com with the release of my newest free eBook: “340 Questions Jesus Asked”   You can request the download of your free eBook @ LeadingWithQuestions.com/books

Today sharing from Chapter 13: 

WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?

 By Delanyo Adadevoh

There could not be a more important subject for Jesus than that of clarifying His own identity and mission in life. His time on earth was filled with controversy right from birth. He was announced as “lord and king” from birth. This message was proclaimed by angels, ordinary shepherds, and the wise philosophers of the time. It was a threat enough to King Herod that he tried all he could to ensure that this “child-king-messiah” did not live to fulfill prophecy.

The controversy continued. Some found Him to be a great teacher. But He taught with unusual wisdom and authority. Others thought He was a prophet, but He worked miracles by His own authority and power. He calmed the storm. He raised the dead. Well, maybe He was an angel, but He accepted the worship of His disciples. Some were bold enough to suggest He worked by the power of Beelzebub; but He consistently did good wherever He went.

Amidst such controversy, one would expect Jesus to have clearly and loudly declared to His audience who He really was. Instead, He chose to bring this truth across through questions. He asked His disciples: “Who do people say that I am?” He followed this with yet another question: “Who do you say that I am?” The two questions were in the right sequence. First, it was simply about reporting what they had heard others say regarding the identity of Jesus. This was easy. It introduced the subject, but it did not seriously challenge their own thinking and perspectives. Once they presented the array of options from others, they had the second question. “But who do you say that I am?” This was now personal. It was a test of the studentship of their Master. They had been with Him long enough to have formed their own opinions about His identity. Understandably, some of the opinions would have been expressed publicly and others held on to privately while they continued to wonder and ponder.

The disciples hesitated. Peter as usual broke the silence and answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16: 13–18) Jesus responded to Peter’s confession by stating that this truth was given Him by none other than God the Father, Himself. In other words, it was a knowledge that was dropped into the mind and spirit of Peter by the Spirit of the Father.

We learn a lot of things from the approach of Jesus to disclosing His identity and mission. First, a simple announcement of such an important truth may not be the best way to ensure its understanding and acceptance. Beginning with questions increases curiosity and the capacity to learn. The second thing we learn is that there is greater impact if questions are presented progressively; from the general to the personal. “Who do people say that I am?” is general and makes it easy to start the conversation on such a huge topic. “Who do you say that I am?” is deeper and more personal. The personal nature of the question increases the level of ownership of the answer. This is partly because the audience is involved in the discovery of the answer. In this case, the discovery involved the Holy Spirit. The best personal questions are the ones that turn audiences to God for help. They lead to deeper critical thinking and soul searching. The third lesson is that good questions have broader applications. Everyone has to be given the opportunity to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” It isn’t enough to just answer this question. There has to be a commitment to challenge others to provide their own answers. The kind of answer given to this question will determine people’s destiny.

We have truths to declare to the world as witnesses of Jesus Christ. We can best share these truths through well-crafted questions that begin from the general to the personal. Good questions challenge thoughts (head), desires (heart), and actions (hand). The goal of asking good questions is not only to cause new thinking, but also to take new actions. Consistent actions reinforce thinking and vice versa.

We cannot end this write-up without asking you the same question: Who is Jesus to you?

To best answer this question, begin with critical thinking and deep soul searching. Engage your head, heart, and hand. But turn quickly to the Word of God, trusting in the enlightening ministry of His Spirit. May you discover the answer to the point of being so convinced that you embrace the mission of helping others discover the right answer to this important question.

We learn from the example of Jesus that questions are not asked only by oral or written communication. Questions can also be asked through our actions. Leadership actions can be instruments for dramatizing questions that are key to leadership agendas. The alignment of words and actions strengthen questions that audiences are being invited to answer. Consistent dramatization of questions with actions reinforces their importance. In addition to the question on who the disciples thought He was, Jesus dramatized His uniqueness through His teachings, lifestyle, and miracles. When He calmed the storm, the disciples exclaimed in awe, “What manner of man is this?” (Matthew 8:27) Jesus, through the miracle of declaring peace over the storm, was still asking the question, “Who do you say that I am?”

John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one to come or if they should expect someone else. (Luke 7:20) Jesus replied to the messengers,

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Luke 7:22)

Jesus continued raising questions and providing answers about His identity through His works. To lead well with questions, our oral and written communications need to be aligned to our leadership actions. What is spoken or written must be aligned to consistent leadership actions. We lead best when we raise key questions regarding our mission with our total lives; that is, our words and actions. That is the example we have from Jesus on the important subject of His identity and mission.

Delanyo Adadevoh is founder and president of the International Leadership Foundation. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live and work in Orlando, Florida.

Click HERE to request your free “340 Questions Jesus Asked” eBook today!

Bob Tiede

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.

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