Jesus was the master at asking questions. I wanted to look at some of the best ones He asked. So I’ve made up a top ten that I have listed below. Jesus asked well over three hundred questions that are recorded in the gospels so my top ten list isn’t going to be the same as yours… It’s all very subjective! But here are some questions, in no particular order, that Jesus posed which spoke to me.
Question 1. Who do they say the Son of Man is? Who do you say that I am?
Matthew 16:13-17 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (14) And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” (15) He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (16) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (17) And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
There are actually two questions in this passage but the first question is really just setting up the second. First of all Jesus asked His disciples the general question – ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ There were a range of answers that were swirling around in the minds of the common Jewish folk at that time. Some said that He was John the Baptist, others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets. If that same question was asked of society today you would also get a whole range of answers. Some would just see Him as a great teacher or leader but nothing more. Some, like Muslims, would see Him as a Prophet but not as the son of God. Some in cults would say He was a lesser ‘god’. Some atheists may say that He didn’t even exist! There would be a range of answers to that question. But the key question is not ‘who do others say He is’ but who do you say I am? All of mankind will have to stand before the Lord one day and the question will not be what did others say about Jesus, but what did you believe? Peter’s answer was spot on… ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!’ Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah but he also knew that He was God’s very own Son. This truth, Jesus said, is only revealed by His Father in Heaven. Can you answer this question with absolute certainty? If not pray and ask God to continue to open your eyes and reveal this absolutely critical truth to your soul!
Question 2. What do you want me to do for you?
Matthew 20:29-34 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. (30) And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” (31) The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (32) And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (33) They *said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” (34) Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
On the surface level this seems like a strange question from Jesus. Here were two blind men crying out to Jesus asking that He would have mercy on them. Stopping, Jesus asks what they would like Him to do for them… One the one hand it seems like it is quite obvious for they are blind and want to be able to see. But on the deeper level this question is one that could be asked of all of us. It is an interesting question because it reveals our heart; in determining what is the most important thing to us. If Jesus asked you this question, what would you ask for? Would it be something physical or spiritual? Would you ask something for yourself or someone else? Something temporal or eternal? You probably know the story but it is worth noting that this is similar to the question that God asked Solomon. Let’s close by looking at how Solomon answered this question and also God’s reaction to this:
1 Kings 3:5-14 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you .” (6) Then Solomon said… ‘” Give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (10 ) It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. (11) God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, (12) behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. (13) “I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.
Question 3. What good is it to gain the whole world but lose your soul?
Mark 8:36-37 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? (37) “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Here is a question that gave me great conviction when I first read the Bible as a non-Christian. I was at University at the time and was trying to get a good degree so that I could have a well paying job and set myself up for a successful life. I had had some sporting success and that was also very important to me. Up until that point all I had ever really considered was being successful in this world… That is all I knew. And then I read this question of Jesus! : ) As I starting believing and being convicted more and more by the word of God, I remember being struck with the thought that all that I was working hard for and knew, didn’t mean anything if I was to lose my soul. This question was telling me that a man can gain all that this world offers and still lose everything eternally speaking. The fact is that if a man could see what happens after they die then they would give up anything and everything if required to have eternal life. Unfortunately, many do not see this truth. This question also speaks to the life of believers who live mainly for the here and now. It reminds us that the eternal spiritual matters are the most important in this life and they should occupy our time and talents.
Question 4. Why are you troubled and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Luke 24:36-40 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you.” (37) But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. (38) And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? (39) “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see , for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (40) And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
Following the resurrection, Jesus’ own disciples were slow to believe that Jesus was alive from the dead. Maybe having gone through the heartbreak of seeing Him die they didn’t want to let themselves believe. Maybe it sounded too good to be true! Whatever the reason, when Jesus appeared to His disciples they thought they must be seeing a spirit so He asked them this penetrating question – ‘Why are you troubled and why do doubts arise in your hearts?’ The answer to this question is actually the same as what Jesus had just previously said to the two on the road to Emmaus: Luke 24:25-26 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (26) “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
The disciple’s problem, and our problem for that matter, is that we are slow to believe the word of God. Jesus’ disciples should have known these prophecies. They should also have remembered that Jesus said He would rise from the dead. That should have been enough and this shouldn’t have come as a surprise! For us, our hearts become troubled and full of doubts when the problem we are faced with becomes greater in our hearts and minds than the God who has promised to care for us. Unfortunately this is a symptom of the fall. But as we renew our minds with the truth and allow God to speak then the doubts and fears no longer have to trouble us as they did.
Question 5. Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?
Luke 6:46-49 ” Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (47) “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: (48) he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. (49) “But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Here is a question that exposes the heart of man and its propensity towards hypocrisy. ‘Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?’ This is ‘religion’ at its best where it maintains an outward form of godliness as a show only. It was this that Jesus hated the most with the Pharisees and leaders of Israel and unfortunately it hasn’t disappeared in the centuries since that day. Polls tell us grossly inflated percentages of those that claim to be Christians in the Western world. For example, depending upon what poll you read, between 77-83% of those surveyed in the United States claim to be a Christian! And yet, unfortunately, much of it is in name only and doesn’t result in a changed life. Jesus said that we are not only to hear His words but also to act on them.
Question 6. Do you believe this?
John 11:23-27 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” (24) Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (25) Jesus said to her , “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, (26) and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (27) She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. We must believe. It is not an optional extra. Here was a story that involved great sadness but also great hope. Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s brother had died. Yet Jesus said that He is the resurrection and the life and that everyone who lives and believes will never die! Then He adds the personal penetrating question… Do you believe this? This question is obviously not just directed at Mary or Martha. It is a question that all must answer for their own life. Yes, without faith it is impossible to please God but with faith in the Lord Jesus we have everlasting life. Faith is not just a one-off event either but is required continually as we walk through this life. Jesus once asked this question of some blind men who wanted to see again: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They *said to Him, “Yes, Lord. Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” In the difficulties and challenges that we face we should have faith and believe that Jesus is able, in any way that He sees fit, to handle the situation.
Question 7. Those that were healed… Where are they?
Luke 17:11-19 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. (12) As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; (13) and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (14) When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. (15) Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, (16) and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. (17) Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they? (18) “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” (19) And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”
Here, I believe, is a story that again shows the heart of man. Ten lepers cry out to Jesus for healing and instead of healing them straight away, Jesus asks them to go show yourselves to the Priests. This of course was what a leper had to do according to Lev 13:2-3 to be declared clean. So it took faith on the part of the lepers to start the journey to the Priests without yet having been healed and this is commendable on their part. As they went on their journey they where miraculously healed and made clean! You can only imagine the joy that went through the hearts of those lepers to be finally free from this dreadful disease! And yet we are told that only one leper went back to thank and praise Jesus for what He had done! So Jesus asks the question of the others – ‘Where are they?’ As a wider application, leprosy in the Bible is often used as a picture of sin in general. Sin is a disease that has affected the every man and every woman on this planet. Yet Jesus paid the price so that all could be free from this disease of sin! And yet how many truly thank and praise Him for that? This story reminds us to have thankful hearts. The Psalmist said ‘Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget not any of His benefits!’ Forget them not but turn and thank the Lord for them once again just as this leper turned and went back to thank Jesus for the wonderful benefit he had received.
Question 8. Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?
Luke 22:47-48 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. (48 ) But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
From the very beginning the enemy has planted his tares among the wheat and his wolves among the sheep. These wolves in sheep’s clothing can look like the real thing, they can talk the talk, but they still seek to betray Jesus and the truth. Judas was one of these. When Jesus told His disciples that one of them would betray Him, none of the disciples had any idea who among them would actually be the betrayer! It wasn’t obvious and some of them desperately hoped that it wasn’t them! The fact is that Judas did a good job at looking like a real disciple while, in the words of Jesus, being a devil. (John 6:70) Even when Judas finally performs this act of betrayal it is still done with deception. He approaches Jesus to kiss Him like you would someone you loved or had affection for. Yet it was all part of the deception which Jesus knew so He asks ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a Kiss?’ Don’t be surprised when you hear of people, even leaders, within the church that betray Jesus and the truth. There are those that speak from the pulpits who are really only masquerading as an angel of light but are in fact placed there of the enemy to lead people astray. This is not a nice thought but Jesus, Paul and all the New Testament is full of such warnings. There are so called leaders within the church that through clever sounding words undermine the authority of the Bible and true faith. I would place many within the ‘Emerging Church’ movement in this camp. Beware of any message that leaves you with the thought ‘Has God really said?’ – It was, and is, the voice of the enemy! Beware of those that look like they are embracing Jesus while betraying Him at the same time!
Question 9. Which of you by worrying can add a single hour onto your life?
Luke 12:22-26 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. (23) “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. (24) “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! (25 ) “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? (26) “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
Oh we worry so much do we not? Different things affect people differently. That’s not exactly rocket science! Some worry about having enough money to live and pay the bills. Others worry about their health, their jobs, their children going off the tracks, the latest flu, an upcoming trip to the dentist or that speech they have to give! And that’s before they turn on the 6’oclock news to be flooded with a list of new things that they could potentially worry about! Jesus wanted to remind His disciples that God even looks after the birds… and how much more important to God are we than the birds? And then He asks this question – ‘Which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life span?’ The fact is that worrying can’t do anything helpful! Corrie ten Boom once said: ‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.’ That is so true and needs to be constantly remembered!
Question 10. Where are we to buy bread so these may eat?
John 6:4-7 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. (5) Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, *said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” (6) This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. (7) Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.”
On the surface this seems like a pretty basic straight forward question. There were crowds of people that had flocked to hear Jesus speak and they were far from home. So Jesus asks Philip where they can buy bread to feed them all. Pretty simple and logical question you would think. Well, you would think that until you read the next sentence which says that Jesus asked this question to test Philip for He already knew what He would do! Ouch! I bet Philip didn’t know it was a test and was frantically trying to work it all out. Yet, whichever way he tried to do the math, the bottom line just didn’t equate! There were just too many people and too few resources. It was a mathematical impossibility to feed this lot!
What makes this an interesting question is that it was a test. Jesus was testing Philip to see what he would reckon they should do in this situation. Yes, there were too many people. Yes, there were too few resources. But would Philip reckon on the Lord Jesus? Would Philip take Jesus into account in giving the answer to the question? That was the test. Philip failed. So do we, quite often! We often only look with our natural eyes at the circumstances that surround us and the resources that we have and fail to see with the eyes of faith. As an example of someone who answered this question correctly, I watched a documentary on the life of George Muller recently and this question came up over and over again. He started an orphanage completely by faith and often they would sit down with all the children to eat without there being anything on the table… They had no food! Yet they would say grace and give thanks none the less taking the Lord Jesus into account. And he wasn’t let down for God would provide through a milkman who had broken down or a baker who was pressed upon by God to make a batch of loaves and give them to Muller’s orphanage! Where are we to buy bread so these may eat? With what do we reckon when we answer that question?