Book Review-The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

514ADoOhNcL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered Martin B. Copenhaver

Emotional Response-5

Scholarly Response-5

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 turned 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.

20150715_125330

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!

3 Comments

  1. Hey there!
    No offense at all intended. But I can think of 10 questions that Jesus answered just off the top of my head… I mean, literally without doing any research at all. Let’s see if I can actually do it.

    Law Expert – which commandment is the greatest one? Jesus – love the lord your God…
    Nathan – How do you know me. Jesus – I saw you under the fig tree.
    Nicodemus – How can I be born again when I am old? Jesus – No one can see the kingdom unless they are born again.
    Nicodemus – How can this be? Jesus – you are Israel’s teacher and do not know? … Everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
    Woman@well – How is you can ask me for a drink? Jesus – If you knew who I was you would ask me for a drink.
    Judas – Surely it isn’t I Rabbi? Jesus – you’ve said it yourself.
    Pharisees – Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath? Jesus – If you have a sheep will you save it? A man is way more valuable than a sheep.
    Pharisees – is it lawful to divorce? Jesus – What God has joined together let man not separate.
    Pharisees – Should we pay taxes? Jesus – why are you trying to trap me? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
    Philip – show us the father and it is enough. Jesus – He who has seen me has seen the father.

    I think that’s 10 and I still have a pile more rumbling around in my head. I get the larger point that you are making with your post. But Jesus was not aloof. He answered every single question that was put to him by the disciples. Yes, his answers were complicated and weren’t always understood. But He answered them. Which says to me, that when I have questions, He will never ever leave me, but that he will respond. He will not remain aloof or unknown. But that He will be present in my time of trouble.

  2. SusannahDB

    Taylor,
    Thank you for your comment. I, too, believe Jesus is present in times of trouble. I do not think, nor do I think the author is saying, that Jesus is aloof. The point of the book is that Jesus does not give us easy answers to questions because life isn’t easy.
    An important quote from the book that I used in this review is, “The goal is not to communicate knowledge but to elicit new understanding in the listener. Information is not the goal. Transformation is” (20).
    Being a follower of Jesus means we let him and his ways transform our lives. It means we live into the questions that he was asked, that he asked, and that he answered.
    Susannah

  3. Jibriil

    Great! This is a new though to me about messiah teaching with questions. It is beneficial and would like to read the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *