Questions are powerful.
Devotion by our Blacksburg Associate Pastor Neal Nelson
Questions reveal the intentions of our hearts like a seasoned detective obtaining a confession of a crime without the criminal even realizing it. And Jesus was a master detective of the human heart as revealed in the events of Tuesday during Passion Week. Jesus’ time in the temple on the Tuesday of Passion Week included several dialogues with his earthly antagonists (chief priest, scribes, and elders), where they were asking questions trying trap him and turn the people against him. They asked Jesus several great questions and everyone around must thought that each question would be the one that will kill him, literally. But each time Jesus listened and then asked them a heart penetrating question which killed their inquiry but could have brought them eternal life if they would have answered them truthfully. A powerful example is found in Mark 11:27-33.
And they (Jesus and his disciples) came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mk. 11:27-33 ESV)
Jesus’ question revealed the faithlessness of Jerusalem’s leaders. They had heard John’s prophetic messages and saw the fruit of repentance in the lives of those who responded but still refused to believe that John the Baptist was from God. And Jesus knew they viewed him with the same lack of faith. Jesus was not afraid to answer their question, he would later, make it declare that his Father had given him all authority in heaven and earth but at that moment rather than allowing them to trap him he trapped them in their own hypocrisy.
According to my lazy Google research, Jesus was asked a hundred and eighty something questions but only answered a few of them but he asked over three hundred questions. Fortunately if you are reading this devotional you are probably not an antagonist of Jesus and you can be thankful that he was a master at using questions to reveal the deep secrets of the human heart. As you prepare for Good Friday and Easter Sunday take a moment to reflect on one of the questions below (or pick from one of the other hundreds of questions he asked) that Jesus asked in the New Testament. Take a few minutes and prayerfully answer the question as if Jesus was directly asking it to you. His questions were powerful then and they are powerful today.
- Who do people say the Son of Man is? (Matt 16:13)
- But who do you say that I am? (Matt 16:15)
- Where is your faith (Luke 8:25)
- Do you realize what I have done for you? (John 13:12
- Do you love me? (John 21:16)
- Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I command? (Luke 6:46)
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