10 Questions Jesus Asked (and Why They Matter Today)
We often have questions of God, questions like: Where are you? Why did You allow this? What kind of good can come out of this?
God has questions of us, as well, not because He doesn’t know the answers. He knows all things. The questions God asked throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, were to get us to think, to repent, and to return.
God’s first question was to Adam in Genesis 3:9: Where are you? All the other questions He asked of mankind were similar, as if to say: What is going on in your heart? Who are you listening to? What are you believing about Me that is not true?
Here are 10 questions Jesus—God in the flesh—asked in Scripture and how those questions still apply to us today:
1. Who do you say I am? Many people were confused about Jesus’ identity. Some people were saying He was Elijah. Others said He was Jeremiah or a prophet. Some believed He was a good teacher or a great magician. Jesus asked this question of His followers in Matthew 16:15, not for His own affirmation, but because who they believed He was would make all the difference in their lives. He wanted them to be able to answer the question accurately.
Who do you say that Jesus is? A good man? A great teacher? One of many ways to heaven? Or do you say He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), as Jesus described Himself? I want my answer to be like Peter’s as recorded in Matthew 16:16: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Or, may it be more personal, like Thomas’ declaration in John 20:28 (but without having to “feel” Jesus to know He is real): “My Lord and My God!”
2. Do you believe? Many people came to Jesus asking for something: a miracle, a healing, a free lunch. Jesus challenged them with this question to expose their motives. Did they want a hand-out or did they truly believe Who He was and what He could do?
When we come to God with our shopping lists, the question that remains on Jesus’ heart is “Do you believe?” Jesus said in Matthew 21:22: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Let’s not be like the double-minded one in James 1:6-8 who doubts and is “like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind.” May our response to Him be like that of the demon-possessed boy’s father who replied honestly in Mark 9:24: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
3. Do you want to get well? This seemed like an odd question for Jesus to ask a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. The man had been lying by the pool of Bethesda waiting to be cured by a Spirit that would occasionally stir up the waters. Jesus wanted to know if the man knew what he wanted. That man might have been so wrapped up in his unfortunate situation that he identified himself as “the one who has been here the longest” or “the one who was the worst off.” (John 5:1-15) If Jesus cured him, who would he be?
When we complain to God about our circumstances or give Him excuses as to why we are still in the same place, spiritually or emotionally, year after year, perhaps the question He still aims at our hearts is Do you want to get well? Do you want to move forward, spiritually? Do you want to make progress emotionally? Do you want to go to a new place where God can be your all-in-all, not the situation that you have let define you? May our response to His question be: Lord Jesus, I want You. Open my eyes to see You for Who You are. Open my ears to hear Your voice. Heal my legs so I can follow You. Heal my heart so I can love You more.
4. Why are you so afraid? In Matthew 8:26, Jesus asked His followers why they were so afraid their boat would overturn on account of some wind and waves, especially since He was right there in the boat with them. Certainly, if the Son of God was in their midst, they would safely get to the other side of the lake.
You and I have Jesus with us in every circumstance we encounter. Furthermore, He has promised to never leave us or desert us. (Hebrews 13:5) So, what are we so afraid of? I want my answer to be Forgive me, Lord, for fearing that anything is stronger than You or outside of Your control.
5. Why did you doubt? It’s easy to believe in God when we’re asking for our daily bread and for God to bless our jobs and keep our families safe, but what about when God asks you to do the impossible?
When Jesus’ disciples saw Jesus walking on the water in the midst of a storm, they were terrified and thought he was a ghost. Then, Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:26) Jesus told him to “Come.” Scripture tells us “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (verses 29-31)
Are you still doubting Jesus after what You’ve seen Him accomplish in the Scriptures and in your life? If Jesus can walk on the water, turn water into wine, and give you living water, surely He can keep you from the waters that threaten to rock your boat.
6. Do you still not see or understand? Jesus likely asked this question in Mark 8:17 out of frustration. No matter what they saw Him do, His disciples still didn’t get it. Jesus had just fed four thousand people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Prior to that, he had fed another 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish, healed a deaf and mute man, cast a demon out of a young girl just by saying the words, and walked on water in front of them while they watched from a storm-tossed boat! What more did they need to see to understand that He was the Son of God?
What have you seen Jesus do? How many coincidences do you have to experience to know His hand is working in your life and circumstances? How many times does He have to come through for you financially to make you trust His provision? May our answer to His question be: Open my eyes to see You for who You really are and to never again doubt Your presence, Your power, or Your provision.
7. Are you also going to leave? Jesus said some things that were pretty hard for people of His day to swallow. He said things like “anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. (John 6:54, NLT) Scripture tells us, “At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” (John 6:66-67)
Jesus’ words – and much of the New Testament letters – are especially difficult for people today. His words seemed intolerant, his ideas radical, His statements, at times, seemed judgmental. Wouldn’t you rather have a God you can conform to your own image, one who goes along with everything you believe is right today? Are you also going to leave? May our response be as pure and undefiled as Simon Peter’s in verse 68: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
8. What does Scripture say? Scripture tells us in Luke 10:23-28that an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered the question by asking the religious leader a question, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” When the man quoted the Greatest Commandment, Jesus replied, “Do this and you will live.”
Scripture is our sole authority today. It is referred to as the living Word of God and Second Timothy 3:16-17 tells us “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
When you’re in a predicament, when you have to choose between offending someone else or offending God, when you have to draw a line in the sand, instead of asking, “What would Jesus do?” and taking your best guess, ask instead, “What do the Scriptures say?” After all, that is what Jesus would say if you asked Him what He would do.
9. Who touched me? In a crowded place, where people were brushing up on all sides of Him, Jesus asked this question, not because He didn’t know who touched him, but because He wanted everyone else to know. Jesus was well aware of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 long years and had spent every last cent she owned trying to get well, but only got worse. He knew she was desperate to be healed. He knew what she risked by going out in public and touching a Rabbi, which would, under Jewish law, make Him ceremoniously unclean. Jesus asked the question because He wanted her to speak up. He wanted her story to be told.
In Mark 5:33, we read, “then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” She told her story—publicly. Everyone there suddenly knew who she was, what her condition had been, and how she had been healed by simply touching Jesus’ garment.
Have you experienced Jesus’ healing touch? Has He forgiven you and given you a new lease on life? Then tell your story so God will be glorified.
10. Do you love me? Jesus asked this of Peter, not once, but three times, after his disciple–who claimed to be the most loyal of the bunch–had three times publicly denied knowing Jesus on the night of his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus asked this question three times as a gift to Peter. He giving him the chance to three times reaffirm his love for his Lord, after having blown it a few days earlier. (John 21:15-17)
Have you blown it with Christ, too? It’s never too late to reaffirm your love for Him. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” His question to Peter penetrates our hearts daily as we are faced with a choice: Will we follow Him or the world? Him or our money? Him or another love? Do you love Me? How I long for my answer to be: Yes, Lord, more than anything. “Whom have I in heaven but You and earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)