Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered Martin B. Copenhaver
Most days, I am so thankful that my faith isn’t an easy answer faith. I don’t believe that if a happens then I need to do b. In my life, when a happens, I ponder and pray about the appropriate reaction, I consult my faith family, I read the Scriptures, and then discern whether b, c, or d are the correct course of action. Sometimes it takes longer to make a decision. I am included in the process of partnering with God and my faith community to see where God is leading me. Now on really rough days for just a few minutes, I covet a faith that has answers to every question. These times doesn’t last long. I am grateful to understand that God welcomes our questions, our concerns, our praises, our laments, and our anger.
“Easy answers can give us a sense of finality. By entertaining questions God has a chance to change us. Answers can be offered as a conclusion. Questions are an invitation to further reflection. For the most part, answers close and questions open” (20).
This book is not a book of easy answers because Jesus didn’t give us easy answers. Jesus asks 307 different questions in the Gospels. He is asked 183 questions (16). I’m thankful that someone else counted up these questions for us to let us know that Jesus asked almost twice as many questions as he was asked.
My sister sent me this picture recently. Her daughter has recently turns four and questions everything. While parents and others may tire of constant questions, questions are vital for learning. Maybe Jesus is asking us to channel our inner four-year old and ask more questions.
How does Jesus teach us? Questions and parables are two of Jesus’ favorite methods of communication. Both of these methods have in common that they are not direct answers. They are asking the listener to participate in this process of understanding. “The goal is not to communicate knowledge but to elicit new understanding in the listener. Information is not the goal. Transformation is” (20).
Jesus asks questions about longing, compassion, identity, faith, doubt, worry, the reach of love, and healing. And finally, in Chapter 9, we read about the questions Jesus answers. The book says that Jesus only answers 3 questions and that is because the author believes that Jesus directly answers only 3 questions. The following 8 are answers that Jesus gave, but they don’t always directly answer the question he was asked. Jesus tells us how many times we must forgive (Matthew 18:21-22), when a husband may divorce his wife (Matthew 19: 3-9), what we must do to have eternal life (Matthew 19: 16-22), what is the greatest commandment (Mark 12: 28-34), why the disciples are unable to heal someone (Matthew 17: 14-21), where they will eat the Last Supper (Mark 14:12-16), who will betray him (John 13:21-30), and after many times not answering Jesus finally tells us who is (John 18:33-38).
Who is Jesus? Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am? These two questions are so similar and yet so different. The first one requires no commitment. The second one comes from the heart if we follow Jesus (Chapter 10). A Question from the Cross is a great look at what it means to have a Savior who asked, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” is the focus of Chapter 11. Chapter 12 finishes the questions with questions from the Risen Christ.
The book ends with a long list of questions in Chapter 13. The author encourages you to read them without thinking about the context or looking up the context. What are these questions that Jesus asks?
This book was recommended to me by a dear friend. She read this book and enjoyed it so much that she used it as a book study at her church. After reading the book, I would love to do the same. This book is easy to read and challenging in the way it makes you think. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to grow a bit in their faith. I’d recommend it for individual reading as well as part of a book study. You should read this book!