Jesus was a master teacher. He was devoted to the task, concerned about His students, infinitely knowledgeable about His subject, and clear in His presentation.
It is no surprise that people often asked questions of such a teacher. Over the next few months we will consider some of those questions and Jesus’ answers to them. Let’s introduce this study with a few observations about. . .
People asked Jesus questions for a number of reasons. Some were simply curious. Some were interested in His perspective versus others’ answers (e.g., John 4:19-20). Some were seeking spiritual guidance (e.g., Mark 10:17). Others did not understand something He had said and were asking for clarification (e.g., Luke 8:9). Sadly, on too many occasions people asked Jesus questions that were intended to entrap Him (e.g., Mark 12).
The Lord knew the heart of each questioner and responded accordingly. Even those “test” questions received a fair reply. Jesus refused to answer only in cases where the questioner demonstrated that he was not going to deal honestly with the truth (e.g., Matthew 21:23-27; John 19:8-11). That brings us to. . .
Jesus’ answers were always truthful. He had nothing to hide, no secret agenda to pursue. His goal was always the betterment of the questioner, not personal gain. He said it is the truth of His word that makes us free (John 8:31-32), and He came to bear witness to the truth (John 8:37).
Jesus’ answers were relevant. He said what was needed, even when the questioner might find it difficult to apply. The rich young ruler needed to correct his greed (Mark 10:21), the disciples needed to learn to forgive (Matthew 18:21ff), etc. The problem with some teachers is not what they teach, it is what they never seem to address!
Jesus’ answers were often thought-provoking. He would sometimes answer a question with a question, helping the student think through the issue or perhaps to examine his own attitude (e.g., Matthew 21:23-27). He answered some questions with parables which mentally pictured the truth involved.
Another characteristic of Jesus’ answers is that they were at times broader than the question. For example, when the Samaritan woman asked about the proper place of worship, Jesus’ response included both the current specific answer and broader principles of worship (John 4:19-24).
Some people who asked Jesus a question did not respond favorably to His answer. Let’s do better as we listen in on these conversations.