Tag: Questions Jesus Asked

44. Are you thus without understanding also?

Mark 7:18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him?

Read: Mark 7:14-23; Matthew 15:10-20 


somewhere in Gallilee, Capernaum as home base (Mark 6:53, 56) – Pharisees and scribes challenge him about disciples: why do they break tradition… iow, what kind of heresy are you teaching them

See: Mishnah, Yadaim 1.1, 2.3; log: 2/3 pint, between 10 and 11 ounces

Jesus’ response to Pharisees/scribes: Isaiah was right; more concerned with externals than right-motivated obedience to God

Jesus’ response to people: “nothing that enters a man…”; disciples question Jesus (Matt. 15:12); he then makes it plain, again, Pharisees/scribes are false teachers who refuse to accept truth

then Peter asked for explanation of the “parable” – need audio button: what did disciples’ question about Pharisees “say” about their opinion?

Person(s) being questioned:

the Twelve, not only Peter – “said to them“, “are you…” both plural nouns; “are you..”, “do you not perceive…” 2nd pers. pl. verbs

also, context of question as recorded in Matthew: “his disciples asked him concerning the parable”

Question behind the question:

“Are you thus without understanding just like the scribes and Pharisees?”

then Jesus asks “question behind the question” – “Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him?”

Are you struggling with knowing what God really expects? how he defines purity and holiness?

Do you not yet understand the true nature of man? (concepts of original sin, total depravity)

Expected response:

Jesus probably expected “huh?” or blank looks – what they needed to learn involved paradigm shift, radical change to significant part of prevailing worldviews

man not totally corrupt; external actions / rituals essential to earning divine favor (which was possible); other extreme, things done in the body don’t matter, radical distinction between soul and body

too big a shift for Twelve to grasp all at once, would take several years for all pieces to fall into place – enough at first to give major brain pain

Jesus’ point:

these guys especially needed right understanding on this one in order to proclaim a pure gospel – big spiritual principles at stake

Jesus not “wondering” why Twelve don’t seem to grasp his teaching because of how he delivered it – is it a parable or straightforward statement?

Jesus is concerned they have right understanding about Law and Grace, obedience and faith, nature and need –  something Pharisees and scribes lacked

OT rituals not ever intended as means to salvation – intended to teach man about God, show him his need for God

Mark 7:20 “since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” ESV Commentary “inserted” by Peter after his vision, Acts 10:9-16 ???

if external things cannot defile a person (because they cannot alter his heart), neither can they purify a person – only who/what can change the heart is able to purify / make acceptable to God

Modern Application:

need to understand same things as Twelve about man’s nature, true need – e.g. person cleaning up their act is nice but not sufficient

at same time, following all Christian rituals (church attendance, serving in office, Bible study, witnessing, etc.) does not make someone a superstar Christian with greater privileges / benefits

when it comes to conversion, right answer to “what must I do to be saved” is to “trust in what he did for your salvation”

43. Why make this commotion and weep?

Mark 5:39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”

Read: Mark 5:35-43; Matthew 9:23-26; Luke 8:49-56


crowd on shore at Sea of Galilee; request from Jairus; progress toward Jairus’ house interrupted; interaction with woman

Jesus still speaking to the woman, messenger from Jairus’ household with news of daughter’s death, suggestion to not trouble Jesus

has arrived at Jairus’ house – “funeral” already in progress: mourning has begun, professionals engaged and present, the girl would have been buried (probably) before dark if possible

Person(s) being questioned:

professional mourners, friends, family members, servants present in the home with the dead girl

question perhaps directed at the professionals, probably members of Jairus’ household other than Jairus that Jesus had particularly in mind

(need the Play button!) – if directed at the paid actors, calling them out on their insincerity, diminishing significance of genuine grief by making show of it for money… question asked with extreme sarcasm

if (or to extent) was directed at family and friends, much different tone – intended to encourage hope, provoke consideration of important concepts

Question behind the question:

Why do you demonstrate no faith? (showed by calling in professional mourners, done by those who knew where Jairus had gone)

Why did you send for me if your confidence is so easily shaken?

What is the difference between power to heal the sick and power to raise the dead?

What do you really believe about death? the hereafter? the resurrection?

Expected response:

figured it was too late for anyone/anything to help

didn’t think you could / would bring her back to life

If you had been here, the girl would not have died  (John 11:21)

Jesus’ point:

if Jesus could genuinely heal her from her sickness, he could restore her to life – they had hope/confidence he could do the one, should have been confident of the other

their way of displaying grief indicated wrong belief about death and beyond – regardless of what they professed, were acting in hopeless way

also displayed lack of understanding about Jesus – who he was, what he had power to do, his typical response to request like Jairus made

btw, Jesus didn’t just make the girl “undead” – he restored her to life and health …”something should be given her to eat.”

and… he wasn’t there to put on a show like the professional mourners – that’s why he evicted them first; intended to show genuine compassion to parents, faith the “price of admission”

Modern Application:

God has the power (although he doesn’t always use it that way) to not simply facilitate the healing process but to restore immediately to full health and wellness

since it is God’s power in action, the starting point is unimportant – little sick, lot sick, dying, dead – he has sufficient power to achieve goal… aka resurrection power

those two “details” should inform our praying, enlarge our faith

proper euphemism has some connection with original – sleep not end of awareness/responsiveness, death not the end of existence

serves to both warn and encourage: warning to be prepared for what comes after; encouragement that parting only temporary for those with common destiny


42. Who touched My clothes?

Mark 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”

Read: Mark 5:21-34; Matthew 9:18-22; Luke 8:40-48


Setting: in the middle of a crowd on the way to Jairus’ home

Jairus a ruler of the synagogue, probably in Capernaum, daughter at death’s door when he left the house

in front of large crowd, asked Jesus to heal his daughter – religious leader asking Jesus for help! a miracle, too! gotta check this out

on the way, probably lots of pushing / shoving – “a large crowd followed and pressed around him” (NET, Mk. 5:24)

ritually unclean woman, anyone/anything she touched would become unclean – pushed through crowd and touched fringe of Jesus’ robe

Person(s) being questioned:

crowd in general, those in his immediate vicinity – on the surface, a ridiculous question, hence the disciples’ followup pointing that out

Jesus really looking for a single responder, not simply which ones out of the group contacted him; was not code for “give me some space” either

Question behind the question:

Who received an immediate benefit when they touched my clothes?

Who among you has both need and faith? (not just curiosity or coincidence)

and from the woman’s perspective:

Will he be angry because now he is unclean? Will he “reverse” the cure because she “stole” it and didn’t ask for it? Would her wrong method give cause to undo the good result?

Expected response:

disciples thought would be impossible to get valid answer, maybe continued to think that way even after Jesus gave further explanation (Luk. 8:46)

Jesus probably expected the one who touched him in that way to identify themself, thinking perhaps Jesus was powerful enough prophet to know who they were anyway

Jesus’ point:

the woman’s touch was distinct and different from all the others Jesus experienced in midst of that crowd – caused a divine response that Jesus did not consciously will (again, see Luk 8:46)

iow, the woman touched Jesus, God responded, the Man realized after the fact that God had responded to someone with miracle-working power

Jesus making a number of points by stopping and engaging with the crowd, then the woman:

Jairus’ daughter at no more risk because he stopped than if he had kept on walking

Jesus had just delivered a demon-possessed Gentile (unclean) from slavery; he delivered a lonely woman from 12 years uncleanness; he would willingly raise a dead girl to life by the hand

Jesus was a source of cleanness and could not be made unclean in the ways scribes and Pharisees maintained

Jesus was not a rabbit’s foot or genie in a bottle – touch the right thing and magically receive a benefit

and here’s the big one: receiving benefit/blessing from God comes through faith, not following a formula – all three accounts, “your faith has made you well”

Modern Application:

so-called “prosperity gospel” is a lie and no gospel – giving seed money to right ministry no guarantee of future riches

God cannot be manipulated – get into trouble, ask God for help, he must answer and grant request

requests / actions must be done from a position of genuine faith – that because you have saving faith in God he will grant your request, bless your action

should make this clear to best of ability when assuring others (neighbors) we will pray for them

must also be clear that the same kind of faith is essential if they are to legitimately expect God to hear / answer their prayers

41. Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed?

Mark 4:21 Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?

Read: Mark 4:21-25; Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 8:16-18 

Setting: at least 2 different occasions – Sermon on the Mount, small-group session with the Twelve

The sayings in this next section are repeated in Matthew and Luke in different contexts. This reminds us that, as with all preachers, Jesus would in His ministry use the same illustrations again and again… A good illustration is always worth repeating.” Pett

same basic principle at its core but different emphasis based on the setting

Person(s) being questioned:

context, context, context!! see Mark 4:10 – But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

and Mark 4:23 – “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Question behind the question:

what is the basic purpose of a lamp? so… what do you do with it?

background data: what is the light/lamp/candle? where did/does it come from?

John 1:9; 8:12 – light of Christ, light of Gospel, light of truth… ultimately sourced in God, granted to others

what are you doing with what you have been given?

Expected response:

to the explicit questions – no, of course not / well, yeah

to implied questions – may not have immediately connected the dots, still processing the bit about the sower

Jesus’ point:

again, the context – sower, seed, ground… good seed on good ground produces good results

iow, Gospel truth received and internalized will produce externally visible results

light of truth not intended to be kept hidden, kept hidden for individual benefit only – not only common sense, is also God’s design intent

warning: “misuse” light graciously granted by God, even that taken away – Heb. 6:4-8  – cf. seed that falls on stony ground, thorns

have both encouragement… “let your light shine” and expectation… “no one does this, instead they do that”

use of same illustration in Luke 11:33 factors in desire/intent on part of person who lights the lamp – done purposely for benefit of those who come w/i sphere of influence

Modern Application:

evangelism – expect / look for particular kind of results; discipleship – expect / look for particular kind of  results

methods of sharing the Gospel must make plain true conversion will display evidence – internal change reflected in outward behavior: seed produces fruit, light illuminates room and occupants

lampstand – cf. Rev. 1:12-13, 20; 1 Tim. 3:15 

what is true of individuals must be true of gathered church also – light given to local church / church militant for benefit of those both “inside” and “outside”

Ephesus church succeeding at maintaining internal purity, failing miserably at loving neighbor… at risk of losing light they had

40. How then will you understand all the parables?

Mark 4:13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Read: Mark 4:3-20; Matthew 13:1-23; Luke 8:4-15


Jesus had been teaching in the house; left the house, went down by the Sea of Galilee; the crowds followed (“great multitudes were gathered together to him”, Matt. 13:2); forced him to get into a boat so as to be seen / heard by as many as possible

know from Matt. 13:3, 34 Jesus’ preferred teaching style changed – much higher percentage in parable form – “new” thing for disciples

waited to ask after multitude was sent away, Jesus had returned to the house (Matt. 13:36)

disciples’ first question: why parables?

Jesus’ answer: to some “it has been given to know”, to others “it has not been given” – what is “it“? opportunity (NET)? permission (NLT)? explanation (CEV)? “secret of the kingdom” (CSB)? ability? desire?

would seem, given quotation from Isaiah, that major element of Jesus response focused on ability – also factor in John 6:65

Jesus’ conclusion Matt. 13:16-17 indicates there is something about the Twelve that distinguishes them from “the masses”, even godly predecessors

immediate focus of Jesus’ question a small group even if multitude still present… at a distance

Mark 4:10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.
Matt. 13:10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Luke 8:9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”

Person(s) being questioned:

the Twelve, the ones in the front row

“those around Him with the twelve”, some of the ones in the second row (see Mark 3:34)

Question behind the question:

since you have been particularly equipped by God to understand spiritual truth in your own context (where they were in progressive revelation), what is hindering your understanding?

given basic simplicity of content, close application to current events / experience, if this one is a mystery, what about more abstract parables

Expected response:

maybe we don’t need to… as long as you are around to explain

figuring this stuff out is hard work – do you really expect us to do it?

Jesus’ point:

had the equipping, had the tools, had the body of truth passed on by the “church”, had the evidence confirming truth / application of this parable, should have been able to figure it out

much of parable of sower real obvious – already had many opportunities to see Jesus sowing the seed, the whole range of results – the one new piece of information: outcome a result of ground (heart) condition

problem seemed to be not the Twelve’s lack of resources but rather a failure to use what they had properly – still stuck in old thought patterns

needed to be training minds to think in proper (biblical) categories, developing biblical worldview, using spiritual understanding along with resources to gain more understanding

must use spiritual tools regularly to keep them functioning and growing – fail to do so and will stop functioning, be taken away (Matt. 13:12)

Modern Application:

the question: have even more resources than Twelve did at that time: have all of NT, fuller ministry of Holy Spirit, contributions of the church – should be able to understand at as well as Jesus expected them to

the parable: for Gospel seed to produce fruit, ground must be prepared first (TSOH)… by Holy Spirit and us

39. Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

39. Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

Mark 2:8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?

Read: Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26



during first year of ministry, at his “home base” in Capernaum… perhaps Peter’s home — house full of people, plus crowded around within earshot outside listening to Jesus teach

crowd included Pharisees and scribes/teachers of the law – some had traveled several days’ journey: 85 miles Jerusalem to Capernaum

4 men brought disabled friend wanting him to be healed; had to let him down through the roof; instead of healing miracle (first) Jesus declared his sins forgiven

Person(s) being questioned:

religious leaders, scribes and Pharisees – seem to have come with preconceived ideas / bias / prejudice – quickly reached their conclusion

Jesus, reading thoughts (perhaps and body language/expression) “knew” what they were saying to themselves… and challenged them

Question behind the question:

know what they were thinking… in part: “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” – but toward whom were their hearts evil?

at least 2 possibilities – Jesus, the disabled man – perhaps both, since evil (πονηρα, ponera) is plural

why do you think this man deserves his disability – see John 9:2 “Rabbi, who sinned…?” – and, where is your compassion?

shouldn’t you be asking different questions rather than leading/loaded ones like these? – assumed they knew certain things about Jesus, reached (wrong) conclusions based on assumptions

Expected response:

perhaps wanting to draw them out, expose their thinking in front of witnesses – go ahead, say it out loud, let them know what you really think… about me… about him

refusal to engage could rightly be viewed as sign of uncertainty, fear of being wrong – if religious leaders were really convinced / solid in their position, why not defend it

actual response: angry embarrassed silence – wondering how this guy knew what they were thinking, how brave enough to challenge

Jesus’ point:

both the way and the what of their thinking was wrong – thought they had all right answers, could make accurate observations, reason to right conclusions… beginning with human wisdom

assumptions about the disabled man may or may not have been correct; conclusions about Jesus definitely not correct, failed to account for readily available evidence

should have already begun to figure out who he was – see John 2:11; 3:10; Acts 2:22 – had previously performed 8 miracles, enough to have a reputation and be able to draw a crowd

they, along with rest of crowd, probably had mixed up understanding of priorities – needed to learn spiritual need is greater than physical

but… the two often go hand in hand – need to relate to people holistically, addressing needs of the whole person in proper order

that order not always the same – physical can come first: e.g., Exod. 6:9 – need to bring physical relief/hope before can respond to spiritual truth

Modern Application:

Matt. 10:16 – wise as serpents, harmless as doves

conclusions need sound foundation – observe, ask questions, watch and listen and empathize

don’t lose sight of all the needs, don’t neglect one or more in favor of another – remember, don’t have to start with the Gospel to end up there

is not an all or nothing situation – Jesus in same setting with same individual addressed both spiritual and physical needs

38. Why have you forsaken me?

 38. Why have you forsaken me?

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Read: Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:33-37; Luke 23:44-46; John 19:28-30



1. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

2. “This day you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

3. “Woman, behold your son.” (John 19:26-27)

4. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)

5. “I thirst.” (John 19:28)

6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

7. “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

Cry came at the end of 3 hours of darkness (Matt. 27), rapidly followed by his final 3 “words”  – should be understood in context

what Jesus was experiencing, what Jesus was communicating…which must include Psalm 22 and perhaps 23 & 24

“They typify Christ as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (Ps. 22; John 10:11, 14-15); as the Great Shepherd who leads His sheep (Ps. 23; Heb. 13:20-21); and as the Chief Shepherd who enters the gates of Jerusalem in all His glory, there to reign as King of Israel and King of the world (Ps. 24; 1 Peter 5:4).” Expanded Analytical Outlines of the Psalms, James Bartsch

Aloneness – beginning with betrayal and scattering (1-5); Abuse – arrest and trial (6-11); Affliction – crucifixion (12-18); Assistance – resurrection (19-21); Affirmation (22-24) and Adoration (25-31) – Ascension, Pentecost and following.

Person(s) being questioned:

Ἐλωῒ – Eloi – Aramaic (Mark’s account) – my God, iow, the Father… in its original location

Question behind the question:

is it a question Jesus would ask? the Son would ask his Father?

if so, what would that signify about the hypostatic union? two natures in one person…?

and… what would it signify about the Trinity? the oneness shared by all Persons?

even more… what actually occurred and was accomplished on the cross?

Expected response:

depends on Jesus’ point

if truly Jesus’ question, would have been rhetorical – he knew the direct answer

any further question would have related to acceptance and affirmation of what he accomplished

or… did Jesus expect response from those present at the Cross, something like an “aha!”

Jesus’ point:

is this a cry of defeat or triumph??   Jesus’ 4th cry quotes Psalm 22:1Jesus’ 5th cry references Psalm 22:15Jesus’ 6th cry parallels Psalm 22:31 “He has done it!” NIV, ESV 

remember Jesus’ physical condition at this moment in time: after 3+ hours hanging on the cross, no surplus of air for talking

was that Jesus’ way of drawing attention to content of the Psalm, by doing so declaring that everything in that psalm that referenced him had been fulfilled?

Modern Application:

Jesus was following the exact path laid out for him by the Father and communicated by the prophets from beginning to end

in part the answer to his prayer in the Garden – this was in fact the Father’s way; the Son took no shortcuts, he would cross the finish line, accomplished everything laid out for him to do

by anticipation, includes his Ascension, outpouring of the Holy Spirit, his rule over the nations…..