Tag: Questions Jesus Asked

6. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

Read: Matthew 7:15-20; Luke 6:43-45

notice larger context in Matthew – chapter begins with “Judge not”, now teaching about criteria for “judging” (root word κρίνω, Eng. derivative criterion, critique, criticism)

Setting: same hillside near Capernaum (Luke 7:1), near beginning of formal ministry

continuing the first formal “Bible School class” for the Disciples – Jesus the teacher (Matt. 5:2), they the students (Luk. 6:20)

class took place in hearing of “great multitude of people”

appears to be same setting in both Gospels

Person(s) being questioned: the Twelve… directly (Matt. 5:1-2; Luke 6:13ff), but for all present to hear

will be going out on ministry in pairs, representing Jesus, carrying his message, having some measure of authority

need: discernment, distinguishing between right/wrong, helpful/harmful

Question behind the question:

Does character matter?

Will true character be evident?

Should we try to gather nourishment from what cannot nourish and only irritates?

Expected response:

of course not; should not expect to be able to do so

thorns and thistles cannot produce fruit so they don’t

those who try will be disappointed

Jesus’ point:

a plant produces according to its character, its nature

same is true for people

fruit may appear healthy and wholesome outwardly, have a rotten core

same is true for people

consider Gen. 3:18; also 2 Cor. 11:13-15

Modern Application:

must be discerning: those we heed, those we lead, those we feed

heed – seek out who/what will edify, don’t waste time on the rest

lead – pay attention to kind of fruit produced, question/challenge what is suspect

feed – look for good fruit production; and… if fruit remains bad, perhaps tree is bad (need evangelizing, not discipling)

5. What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Matthew 7:9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Read: Matthew 7:7-12; Luke 11:11-13


Matthew – same (Sermon on the Mount) but with qualifiers of immediate context: verses 6, 12

Luke – different: see v.1… “He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray”

instruction on content of prayer (2-4), importunity in prayer (5-10), response to prayer (11-12), object of prayer (13)

Person(s) being questioned:

Matthew – the Twelve plus surrounding auditors and seekers – preparing to go out on ministry

Luke – disciples only, final round of Jesus’ ministry through Perea and Judea before “Passion Week” – preparing to carry on ministry

Question behind the question:

argument from lesser to greater

supplied in Matt. 7:11, Luke 11:13… in part

in addition:

Matthew – who do we trust

Luke – how do we depend

Expected response:

In Jesus’ day – no one, of course; silly question, God always gives good gifts

to “real” question – God of course, who else, for everything

today – see Fatherlessness data

argument not readily understood in current culture – almost 1 out of 4 adult nationwide, 1 in 3 in Maine, in religious “nones”

should plan for preliminary teaching before asking question about both God and fathering

Jesus’ point:

notice kind of things son is asking for – things normally considered good

applies to what we ask / seek / knock for

God doesn’t “prank” his kids

Matthew – trust in God, not civil authority; show discernment who you trust with “valuables”

Luke – persevere in prayer

Modern Application:

trust: many try to “steal” trust – professionals, science, agencies

ask: what worldview do they represent? is what they promote/counsel consistent with Bible?

persevere: God isn’t a drive-thru – gives what is good for us and for his glory… may not be exactly what we requested

God gives on his schedule and in his way – taken all together is what makes it good


2. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Read: Matthew 6:19-26; Luke 12:22-24

Setting: same hillside near Capernaum (Luke 7:1), near beginning of formal ministry

continuing the first formal “Bible School class” for the Disciples – Jesus the teacher (Matt. 5:2), they the students (Luk. 6:20)

class took place in hearing of “great multitude of people”

Person(s) being questioned:

the Twelve (directly)… who remained bi-vocational until at least after Ascension / Pentecost

Three of the gospels tell us that Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fisherman (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11). They were partners in a fishing business. Matthew was a tax-collector (Matthew 10:3). The vocations of the rest are unknown.

Matt. 4:20 Peter and Andrew “left their nets” to be tended by others

Matt. 4:21; Luk 5:10 James and John – partners, probably with their father Zebedee, with Peter

John 21:2-3 Peter, James and John plus two unnamed disciples went fishing

apostle Paul – Acts 18:1-3, 11; see also1 Th. 2:9; 2 Th. 3:7-8; Acts 20:31-35; 1 Cor. 4:12; 9:6

additional disciples and auditors should be taking notes

Question behind the question:

why are you acting like a hypocrite – say you believe in God yet don’t trust him to supply basics

ψυχή not βίος – life, breath, soul

second question: why do you live like there is only now, no hereafter?

really basic worldview question, seeking to shape listeners’ view of reality

summation: what is your vocation? primary calling?

Expected response:

well, yeah, of course

then, second question… don’t have enough faith; don’t have enough love for Christ; not thinking about connections between this life and next

iow, don’t have correct priorities / focus

Jesus’ point:

then why are you so consumed by these things?

more than biological machines

need to be devoting our resources to things that last, not worrying about stuff – see v.31-33

acquisition of material things is not the end/goal – proper use of them is

remember, this coming from One who lived all his days in poverty

Modern Application:

what entanglements stand in way of:

time in the Word?

investing in brothers and sisters?

evangelizing the lost?

what changes / choices need to be made to:

be more available for “ministry”?

be of greater service to God and others?

pursue what is best, not simply what is good?


“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic?

Mark 2:9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?”

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


his own city (Matthew), a house in Capernaum (Mark)

large crowd gathered, overflowed into street and surrounding area (Mark); Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem (Luke)

a paralytic, a disabled person (Matt., Mk, Luk) brought by four friends (Mark)

Person(s) being questioned:

some of the scribes (Matt, Mk) and the Pharisees (Luk) – some had traveled 60 miles from Jerusalem

large crowd listening, religious leaders singled out by Jesus

Question behind the question:

Is there truly a connection between sin and sickness? (John 9:2-3)

Do you not know who I am?

What do you think the paralytic’s greatest need is?

Expected response:

actually none – their theology put them between rock and hard place

believed, rightly, only God could forgive sin, only God could heal; believed, wrongly, if God forgave, then God healed

did not believe a mere man could give assurance of forgiveness, esp. when sickness persisted; yet, knew could say it and not be able to disprove – “get up and walk”… proof of effectiveness immediate

Jesus’ point:

their theology was wrong: sickness may or may not be related to personal or parental sin

many outrageous sinners the picture of health; many faithful devoted Christians suffer horrible illness

mankind’s greatest need – forgiveness of sin, not physical healing; true globally and individually

affliction can provide opportunity for God to demonstrate his God-ness

Modern Application:

should seek first for self and others – right relationship with God… spiritual healing; physical may/may not come later

praying for brothers and sisters in dangerous places – keep safe from spiritual harm; physical safety is secondary

forgiveness is source of joy regardless of physical condition

and, of course, don’t make mistake of religious leaders: suffering not necessarily caused by sin, not indicator of spiritual health