Tag: Questions Jesus Asked

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…..

37. How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled?

Matthew 26:54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Read: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11


Garden of Gethsemane — long after dark — Jesus has prayed 3x — Judas arrives with motley bunch: probably sent by Sanhedrin – “came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” (see also Matt. 26:57)

Simon Peter has just “reacted”, cut off Malchus’ ear (John 18:10-11)… recorded by Luke as healed (Luk. 22:51)

Person(s) being questioned:

the one who was better fisherman than swordsman – Peter, for benefit of all who were really paying attention

Question behind the question:

did you not “hear” the response to my prayer a little while ago – “is there no other way?”

if I don’t follow through with this, who else can?

if I don’t follow the “plan”, what will that mean… about my identity?

if I could bail out, what would that mean about God and his character? for the fate of all humanity?

Expected response:

not the time for extended discussion – Judas and mob were on a mission, probably getting impatient

remember, too, they were all acting as agents of Satan who was determined to seize what he saw as an opportunity

was really a rhetorical question – “asked for rhetorical effect often with an assumption that only one answer is possible”

Scriptures could not be fulfilled if it did not happen thus – Jesus will come back to this concept on Sunday afternoon (Luk. 24:26-27)

Jesus’ point:

not a martyr for his faith – would be a willing sacrifice, offering himself in place of his people to satisfy God’s justice

means also Jesus was not a victim… of the Jews, the Romans, or God – had sufficient power and resources to prevent Judas’/Jews’ plan from reaching intended conclusion if he chose

Jesus’ declared intent from first recorded words: to “be about [his] Father’s business” (Luk 2:49)

things were going exactly according to Father’s eternal plan of redemption as articulated by prophets… and Scripture would be fulfilled precisely and fully

iow, none of this represented failure on Jesus’ part to accomplish the Father’s purpose

Modern Application:

number of wrong ideas about Jesus in current culture

martyr, victim, object of “cosmic child abuse”

right idea: Jesus came on purpose, for a purpose, acted with purpose, fulfilled the Father’s purpose

all these events / circumstances were prophesied as part of God’s plan – in fulfilling the Father’s purpose, he fulfilled prophecy… necessary for God to be God… and all the rest! 

36. Could you not watch with Me one hour?

Matthew 26:40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?

Read: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46


somewhere on Mount of Olives, perhaps near its base short ways from Kidron Valley on east side of Jerusalem

left 8 of disciples nearer entrance to Garden (Matt., Mk.), took Peter/James/John, went short distance farther on to pray – Jesus announced his intention to all of them (Matt. 26:36; Mark 14:32)

and… told them what they all should be doing – Luke 22:40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” – iow, same as he was

repeated instruction to PJJ when found asleep – Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38 

gave basis for his request/instruction: Matt. 26:38, Mark 14:24 “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.” – did not expect PJJ to rely on his body language cues

then explicit instructions: “Stay here and watch with Me.” – opposite of drowsy/sleepy/asleep… 1 Pet. 5:8 “…be vigilant”

Person(s) being questioned:

Jesus went farther on, prayed, then returned to PJJ – found them asleep, chided for lack of wakefulness, reminded of need to pray

went away, prayed second time, returned and found asleep again (Mark 14:40), same the third time (v.41) – too foggy-headed to respond verbally to Jesus

one questioned directly: Peter (Matt. 26:40; Mark 14:37), certainly applied to James and John also, perhaps why Gospel writers defend them

“eyes were heavy” (Matt. 26:43; Mark 14:40); “sleeping from sorrow” (Luke 22:45)

Question behind the question:

especially as directed to Simon Peter: where is evidence of that devotion you declared an hour ago? (see Matt. 26:33. 35)

did repeated teaching about watchfulness make any impression?

if you cannot support / encourage me when it’s easy, where will you be when it gets hard?

how will you be able to respond properly when the action starts if you are sleeping?

Expected response:

the best one is given Mark 14:40 – “they did not know what to answer Him”


Jesus’ point:

more than any other time in his life Jesus needed their support – they needed to be alert, on duty, prepared for action

individually none of disciples had resources adequate for need of the hour… and neither did Jesus

disciples needed help from two sources: God and one another

should have been praying for and with one another, enlisting God’s aid, encouraging each other (by keeping them awake)

Eccl. 4:12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Modern Application: 

we have same needs / limitations as disciples; also… have same sources available to make up our lack that they did

need to be alert to dangers and temptations, be prepared to resist temptation and overcome dangers to our faith and witness

need power of God accessed by prayer, help of one another (accountability and encouragement) to be successful


34. Who then is a faithful and wise servant?

Matthew 24:45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?

Read: Matthew 24:36-51; Luke 12:35-48 


Setting: Mount of Olives – Matt. 24:1-4 

just Jesus and the disciples – “the disciples came to Him privately” (v.3)

probably figured since Jesus spoke of Temple destruction, must be referring to “the end of the age” prophesied in Dan. 9:26 

Jesus’ demeanor, tone of voice encouraged their questions

Person(s) being questioned:

only the Twelve present with Jesus

question itself perhaps / probably a device intended to further the line of reasoning

Question behind the question:

given what Jesus has just said about the end:

in the meantime, what kind of people does the master expect leaders in his “house” to be

if they are examples, what kind of people does the master expect all the servants in his “house” to be

how should leaders deal with the master’s delay in returning

Expected response:

likely a rhetorical question, not anticipating verbal response

Jesus using question to provoke thought among disciples, set up his own response

typical “safe” answer: one who does his job well even when boss is away / absent

…then Jesus throws in complicating detail, v.48 – “My master is delaying his coming” – pushes question / response up a level

Jesus’ point:

as much (or more) focused on servant’s attitude toward the Master than simply on what the servant was doing

cultural trajectory in 1st century paralleled that of Noah’s time – bad and getting obviously worse, fewer moral restraints, etc.

remember what God told Noah: Gen. 6:3 And the LORD said, “his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” – had his assignment, had the timeline

disciples had assignment, had the timeline… without numbers – needed to stay on task… with right attitude – expectant anticipation

Modern Application:

from Noah / servant / our perspective: looking at culture… can’t get much worse, God’s gotta do something…. soon

–looking at Master, you gotta do something, when are you going to do something, why taking so long, spiral to discouragement/defeat, maybe doing right thing but with poor attitude

watchful diligent labor – so that all within our sphere of influence is as ready as possible for Master’s return

remember who is speaking – Master’s return is certain, results of his return just as certain – should keep from discouragement

33. How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Matthew 23:33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Read: Matthew 23:29-36



in the Temple area; probably Tuesday of Passion Week; scribes, Pharisees, crowds and the Twelve present

following verse (Matt. 24:1) “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple”

cultural context: making a big deal out of honoring prophets and other righteous as heroes – keeping painted, grass mowed, fresh flowers, solar lights, ostentatious in their appearance of hero-worship

claiming they would never have treated their heroes disrespectfully as ancestors did – giving lip service to several right things: prophets genuineness, great value of their message, honorable character; shamefulness of how previous generation rejected them and their message

at same time: consider how these same individuals acted in general, had treated last of OT prophets, John the Baptist… and how they would treat even greater prophet, Jesus, in 48 hours

v.32 spoken with mix of emotions, at least firmness and sorrow (given v.37ff) – “go ahead, finish what your ancestors started; you are all bent on destruction, will not be persuaded to change course”

prefaces question with identification of their true character and family connections: Satan is liar and murderer (John 8:44), by their words and actions they follow in his pattern (liars, v.30; murderers, v.34)

Person(s) being questioned:

scribes (29), Pharisees – described as hypocrites, sons of those who murdered the prophets (31), serpents (33), brood of vipers

by implication / extension, everyone w/i hearing who shared their devotion to doctrinal precisionism, theological / political status quo

and… wake-up call to genuine seekers taken in by their deceptions

Question behind the question:

You rejected God’s plan A. What is your plan B?

What is the basis for your hope… and will it be sufficient?

more immediately, What hope is there you will repent?

Jesus’ commentary on any response they might give: you have no genuine hope – this generation will pay the penalty for all this sin… in 70AD

Expected response:

Jesus really didn’t expect one – other listeners might have thought of something either they or leaders could have said

“we’re children of Abraham” (see John 8:33, 39), iow, God’s chosen people – “we keep the law” (see Matt. 5:20) – “we’re not hopelessly unclean like Gentiles or Samaritans” (see John 4:9)

Jesus’ point:

were in long line (as they hinted, but not incl. Abraham!) of those who rejected God’s messengers… and their message – package deal, cannot separate one from the other – parable of vineyard, Mark 12:1-12 

even when confronted with what they knew to be truth, refused to be persuaded of it – repetitions of God’s truth hardened resistance

had totally rejected the only means God had supplied for reconciliation, in just few days would do their part to destroy God’s final “attempt”… his Son

since God only has one plan of redemption, when that is off the table what is left? God set his own terms, how can you hope to make your own?

NOTE: calling them serpents / vipers should have put Jewish people on high alert – only a fool “plays” with deadly venomous snakes

Modern Application:

those who practice doctrinal isolationism – Bible version, end-times sequence, evangelistic methods – trending strongly toward mindset of scribes and Pharisees

the intolerance of tolerance – as “understood” in our culture, tolerance for anything / everything apart from Biblical Christianity

those who have own version of faith while rejecting God’s message / messengers (incl. Bible)

what hope do they rest in for what comes after death… what authority do they base that hope on

32. Which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold….the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

Matthew 23:17, 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

Read: Matthew 23:16-22

similarities to Lk 11:37-54 occurring earlier in Jesus’ ministry; one “harmony” looks for way to have Matthew’s account be out of place, better suited to small dinner setting; the rest take chronological placement as indicating 2 separate occasions when Jesus denounced religious leaders blindness and hypocrisy


in the Temple area; probably Tuesday of Passion Week; scribes, Pharisees, crowds and the Twelve present

Person(s) being questioned:

Matt. 23:1Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples”

“woe to you, scribes and Pharisees” – v.13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29; “woe to you, blind guides” – v.16

highlighting erroneous teaching of religious leaders, questioning them directly, encouraging all w/i earshot to think critically

Question behind the question:

What is the purpose of the temple?

What / who should be the focus of activities at the temple?

How does this teaching promote truth and justice?

Expected response:

should have responded – temple and altar – both have use and significance regardless of gold or specific gift

their teaching about oaths and vows implied just the opposite – apparently they couldn’t “see” the contradiction

description of Matt. 22:46 carried on even in face of Jesus calling down curses on them – “no one was able to answer Him a word”

Jesus’ point:

truth / integrity

what’s the use of an oath or vow if you can get out of it on a technicality?

how does it advance the truth if you say one thing and mean another?

how can you claim to lead others to the truth when your “rules” encourage deception?


think about why you go to church – to worship the things you bring… or the one who makes the church holy?

if the gold and the gift rank higher than anything else in their surroundings, what is the real focus of worship?

bottom line

nothing you are swearing by can hold you accountable and you know that… only God can – and where is he in the picture?

Modern Application:

effect of lack of trust on culture

society / community disintegrates, becomes radical individualism if there is no interpersonal trust – destroys relationships, paralyzes commerce, worship becomes self-focused

must be those known for commitment to truth and integrity – people of our word and the Word, upholding the truth: John 14:6; 1 Tim. 3:15

keeping right focus / emphasis in worship

what we call worship

shouldn’t call something worship that isn’t just because it happens at church, with Christians

how we do worship

each element of a worship service should intentionally draw attention to the proper object of worship, God

anything that encourages undue attention elsewhere should be avoided or eliminated

where we go to worship

whatever there is about the worship space that draws attention away from the proper object should be altered or removed

in all things, whatever does attract the attention of worshipers should focus it on a true representation of God