Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-10-02-20-amJesus stopped in his tracks and called to them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord, we want to see,” they replied. – Matthew 20:32-33

Here’s an interesting fact: If you read the gospels carefully, you will see that Jesus asks a hundred times as many questions as he answers, and twice as many as he is asked; and when he does answer, it’s often in the form of a story.

If we engage the scriptures with open hearts, then God’s word invites inquiry, stimulates conversation, and provokes questions. Unfortunately, too many practitioners of religious dogmatism quote scripture in order to close down conversation, cut off questions, and stifle exploration.

If we engage the scriptures with open hearts, then God’s word invites inquiry, stimulates conversation, and provokes questions. Unfortunately, too many practitioners of religious dogmatism quote scripture in order to close down conversation, cut off questions, and stifle exploration.

img_8275So, this Sunday at church Rebekah launched a Lenten sermon series around some of the questions Jesus asks us. Yesterday was “What are you looking for?” The message starts right on the 16:00 mark (but if you go back to 13:00 the children’s bell choir will blow you away).

Now the idea is in play, people have started to notice the questions Jesus is always using to draw us into conversation about the kingdom of God. We’re going through Matthew in my discipleship class, and in the short reading we considered Sunday morning (20:20-34), three questions from Jesus jumped out:

  • “What do you want?”
  • “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”
  • “What do you want me to do for you?”

So we talked about the questions, as if Jesus was in the room (he is), looking for a response. These questions are especially poignant in light of the fact that we took communion together as a church.

  • “What exactly is it that we want?”
  • “What do you mean, Lord? Are you talking about that cup?”
  • “What – in the specific circumstances that make up my life this week – your life this week – do we want Jesus to do for us… and through us?”
img_8290

communion

And – more tellingly – can we handle the implications of allowing Jesus to heal us… or to direct us… or to challenge us?

The real question, it turns out, is not “Why won’t Jesus do anything for me?” But, “Why won’t we allow Jesus…?

So we engaged the scriptures, we asked hard questions, we wrestled with the word, we explored. We did all the things Jesus invites us to do when he speaks… and we did the opposite of what happens when religious people use scripture to put a stop to the questions, to end conversation, and to close off exploration.

“The word question,” Rebekah pointed out (noting that this was a ‘Mr. Obvious’ thing to say), “includes the word QUEST; there is always a journey, and a sense of discovery…”

I love my church family… I love the buzz of anticipation, affirmation, confirmation, and transformation that fills the sanctuary as people come and go from the stations where they receive the bread and the wine… I love the crowds of children who run around shedding light and life and enthusiasm… I love the intergenerational aspect of sharing communion… I love sticking my head into a room and finding it crowded full with adult youth advisors talking about their ministry with the teens…

Here are just a few photos of all of that from yesterday. Be encouraged; be inspired; be drawn closer to Jesus; be in the business of asking good questions and exploring God’s good word. – DEREK

2 thoughts on “questions Jesus asks

  1. brismart says:

    sometimes I ask myself questions when reading the bible that I feel maybe am asking too much. Thanks for convincing me otherwise

    Liked by 1 person

    1. derekmaul says:

      Thanks.
      God can handle our questioning, our doubting, our confusion, our stumbling… so long as we are honest

      Liked by 1 person

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