I sat in front of them today. Bibles open. Digging into God’s Word. Seeing Jesus demonstrate power beyond our understanding. Power over disease. Power over perception. Power over distance. (Matthew 8:1-17) His miracles reminding us of times we have seen Jesus intervene in the ordinary in our lives. Protection. Healing. Presence. Lives changed because of one man’s intervention in the world.
His miracles demonstrated His power, but, Jesus changed lives with the words He spoke. With the questions He asked. He was more than a miracle worker. He was a teacher, too. One who asked probing questions. One who dug for more than the simple answer. One, I’m sure, who was okay with the silence as those who listened mulled over what He said to them. He “taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:29 NIV)
What questions did Jesus ask?
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Matthew 5:46-47 (NIV)
“Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matthew 6:25b (NIV)
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:9 (NIV)
“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Matthew 8:26 (NIV)
“Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4 (NIV)
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Matthew 9:28b (NIV)
Jesus questions hang in the air. They have weight. They demand an answer. Simple, pat answers will not do. In my mind’s eye, I can see the disciples squirming nervously, wondering what Jesus could possibly have been pushing at. I can imagine that the crowds who followed him turning to each other with bewildered expressions. Steam must have poured out of the Pharisees and Sadducees ears as Jesus went after them with pointed rebukes phrased as questions.
I think that’s why I am sometimes afraid to let Jesus really teach me. He has questions for me that go to the heart of who I am. It is not because He wants to accuse and guilt me into some sort of behaviour. That is not the God He is. Rather, He is asking questions of me out of love. He desires that my character, heart, soul and mind be aligned with His. He knows my heart. But His questions push me deeper, inspecting the corners I would like to keep hidden. His questions make me squirm. They reveal a truth about my character that I would rather not know, let alone letting Him in on it.
I prefer to be the one asking Him all of the questions. That feels safer. Less vulnerable. It is comfortable. Someone else getting grilled, that has to be better. Right?
I think I may have been missing out on some of the lessons I should be learning. I am certain Jesus has questions for me. Questions that will be revelatory. Questions that will sting a little. Questions that will draw me closer to His heart. Will I sit and listen to the One who made me and knows me? My Jesus is the best teacher I know.