Tag: Questions Jesus Asked

51. Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?

Mark 14:48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?”

Read: Mark 14:43-50; Matthew 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:3-14 

 

Setting:

Garden of Gethsemane, following third plea with his Father; awakened Peter, James, John

confronted by Judas and a great multitude (aka, a mob) with several sorts of people:

“detachment of troops and the captain” (John 18:3, 12) – Roman military tribune in charge of cohort of 600 (1/10 legion), probably only a small detachment of troops

officers from the chief priests and Pharisees”, “officers of the Jews” – sent by the Sanhedrin – “came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders”, also called Temple Police

Romans there in supporting role, maintain order by their presence; also from Sanhedrin’s perspective, guilt by association, share responsibility in Jesus’ arrest

Person(s) being questioned:

the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him” – Luke 22:52 

they were the ones who had both prior opportunity and authority to act against Jesus

Question behind the question:

What convinced you to choose this time for this kind of action?

Who do you really think I am anyway?

Have you already passed judgment, is the sentence a forgone conclusion? Is that why you brought the Romans?

Expected response:

Jesus probably didn’t expect one at this point – were not of a mind to do anything more that might indicate they weren’t in charge

had already responded in fear to Jesus’ self-identification – John 18:4-6 

if questions were delaying tactic, they were having none of it – the longer all this took, more likely word would get out and plan would be foiled

as for question about identity: probably most really don’t know, just know he represents some kind of perceived threat against current religious and perhaps political system

Jesus’ point:

Mark, Matthew, Luke – if what they were doing was truly right, could have been done “publicly” in daylight; no need for secrecy

this not their first opportunity to take action against Jesus, must be some kind of justification in their minds for night-time raid

more to their show of force than simple need – intended to make a point: this guy is really dangerous, needs to be neutralized or eliminated

perhaps small factor in being so large a group and well armed: if Jesus tried any of his magic stuff, they would be ready

then Jesus gets to foundational reasons: 1) fulfillment of prophecy (Mark 14:49); 2) Satan’s power at work (Luke 22:53)

Modern Application:

from the use of a betrayer to the time of day and method of arrest to all that took place later – a complete miscarriage of justice… and yet Jesus submitted to it even though he had countless options

he made the point clearly that armed resistance against religious or military/government authority even when they act unjustly is not the appropriate response

even for all that, the end in no way justified the means even though the means were according to God’s divine plan – the right thing done the right way for the right reason according to God’s standard is always right

50. Do you see these great buildings?

Mark 13:2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Read: Mark 13:1-13; Matthew 24:1-14; Luke 21:5-19

video – virtual tour; diagram of Temple layout

Setting: adjacent to Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, on the way to the Mount of Olives with the Twelve

Tuesday or Wednesday of “Holy Week”, two/three days after Triumphal Entry, last time Jesus set foot in the Temple area

Triumphal entry; cursed the fig tree, “cleansed” the Temple, healed many and authority challenged; parables & woes

Matt 24 & 25, Mark 13 – “Olivet Discourse”, last of 5 discourses in Matthew – teaching / informing Twelve what to expect during remainder of their lifetime and beyond

Person(s) being questioned:

the Twelve generally, “one of his disciples” in particular (Mark 13:1) – could have been Peter, credited with being source for the Gospel, also among those who questioned Jesus further (13:3) 

Question behind the question:

What do you see when you look at these buildings / this massive complex? (985 x 1575 ft, ~36 acres)

How does your impression compare with mine (Jesus’)? with what you have observed in the last 3 days?

How essential to your identity as a Jew is what this represents? to your identity as a follower of God? 

Expected response:

disciples see: a monument to the worship of YHWH, source of pride… better, more costly worship center than any other

Jesus sees: glittering shell with rotten interior – built to promote Herod, not YHWH; symbol of nationalistic pretensions; used to promote power and profit of the elite at expense of others

Temple / Jerusalem the focal point of political / religious / social life and identity – represented everything it meant to be a Jew

impossible to be a good Jew / proper follower of God without a functioning Temple in Jerusalem – destruction of Temple and city equals destruction of Jewishness

Jesus’ point:

almost certain that at least one of Twelve would want explanation – Jesus’ point must be understood in light of what follows in rest of Discourse

likely aggressor who would bring about destruction: the Romans – they would only be the tool, the agent God would use in judgment

if God is the one ultimately responsible for destroying the worship center, then…

– Temple not essential to identity as people of God

– more to proper / acceptable worship than Temple-based rituals

shouldn’t put inordinate amount of confidence in appearances – either legitimacy or longevity

need to focus on things God has identified as essential and significant

Modern Application:

need to have right basis for confidence – things God is committed to preserving / maintaining

need to be sure churches and structures operate according to God’s expectations

need to be sure we evaluate churches and structures according to God’s expectations

 

49. What did Moses command you?

Mark 10:3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”

Read: Mark 10:1-12; Matthew 19:1-12; see also Matthew 5:31-32 and 1 Corinthians 7:10-15 

Setting:

Jesus having left Capernaum traveled toward Jerusalem on east side of Jordan through Perea instead of going thru Samaria

Pharisees probably keeping track of his movement, esp. if toward Jerusalem; had minimal authority in Perea so would not have crossed the river

Perea along with Galilee part of tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, previously a Roman province under governance of Syria

another welcoming committee, trying their best to find a way to neutralize Jesus – here, wanting to capitalize on rivalry between theological schools (liberal Hillel and conservative Shammai)

Person(s) being questioned:

the Pharisees, Jesus answering a question with a question

same as with other questions, Jesus asked for benefit of the rest of the group… in particular the Twelve (Mark 10:10)

Question behind the question:

What principle is embodied in the Law?

What underlying principle is that Law based on?

Is there a more important issue than divorce?  and… how does that affect interpretation/application of divorce law?

Is there a principle / authority that transcends Moses?

Expected response:

probably pretty close to what he got from them – an answer, not an explanation

would have looked up divorce in the index/concordance, considered text(s) that dealt directly with it

Jesus familiar enough with Pharisaic reasoning to not expect them to look anywhere else than Law of Moses for help

Jesus’ point:

only makes brief stop at Moses – makes it something of secondary importance, an accommodation because of stubborn sin

to properly formulate position on divorce, need to start with marriage… and what God said about it… at the beginning when instituted

scenic turnout: true of all of Moses’ law, necessary only because of sin – no sin, no need for external law; internal law as part of imago dei would have been sufficient

reminds them / us of God’s view / position regarding marriage – a simple writ of divorce does not dissolve the union God has made

according to Jesus only adultery could do that, signified by stoning in OT; Paul added condition of abandonment by an unbeliever

in both cases (Jesus and Paul), focus of attention on regulating marriage and remarriage, not on regulating divorce

neither declare divorce invalid or disallowed for reasons other than adultery/abandonment – their position is that under any other circumstances, remarriage is not to be permitted so long as the “ex” lives

Modern Application: 

need to understand entire scope of principles concerning marriage and divorce from Creation onward as presented in the Bible

need to not read into what Bible says about divorce conditions that are not present – e.g. limiting biblical divorce to only two grounds

need to be consistent and biblical in applying marriage and divorce principles within the church… re: membership, discipline, qualifications for office

48. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it?

Mark 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

Read: Mark 9:49-50; Matthew 5:13; Luke 14:34-35

 

Setting:

more than one, as with use of lamp metaphor – an idea Jesus used at various times / in various ways throughout his teaching

Sermon on the Mount (Matthew); Peter’s house in Capernaum (Mark 9:33); after Sabbath dinner in the Pharisee’s house (Luke)

explanatory note about salt: not referring to what we use on table today! would have been gathered from surface deposits, contained impurities, degrades quickly when exposed to weather

Person(s) being questioned:

another use of a stylistic device, using a question during teaching to encourage listeners to think – often/usually the speaker gives the answer

no particular person the “target” of the question – all who were within earshot expected to hear and have some kind of mental response

Question behind the question:

how is salt used? — purify; preserve; make palatable

if salt loses those qualities, of what value / use is it?

and… what effect does that have on the thing being salted?

Expected response:

verbal response probably not expected

 

Jesus’ point:

his followers expected to act on others similar to how salt behaves… as much for benefit of what is salted as for their own

to be purified themselves, also to purify the culture – influence of their lives/example on others, effect of Gospel permeating culture

serve as preservative – God restrains / delays judgment on individuals and cultures for the sake of his people

make community at large more palatable – restrain evil, encourage righteousness by presence/influence

Modern Application:

are expected not to go through life in “Christian bubble” – have to come into contact, maybe even “rubbed in” to serve good purpose

and… that purpose should be on our radar – what should we be doing purposefully in order to have the kind of effect God wants

 

 

47. What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?

Mark 9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?”

Read: Mark 8:13-21; Matthew 16:5-12

Setting: with the Twelve, approaching Bethsaida (Mar 8:22), teaching as they walked

Jesus issued warning the Twelve misunderstood – he had spiritual matters in view, they didn’t

Jesus compared faulty doctrine of religio-political leaders to leaven, used the word in place of the concept – disciples took it “literally”

Jesus overheard the discussion, obviously way off the mark, challenged them with whole series of questions:

 

Mark

Matthew

1

Why do you reason because you have no bread?

Why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?

2

Do you not yet perceive nor understand?

Do you not yet understand,  

3

Is your heart still hardened?

 

4

Having eyes, do you not see?

 

5

And having ears, do you not hear?

 

6

And do you not remember?

Do you not… remember…

7

“When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?”

[Do you not remember] the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?

8

“Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?”

Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?

9

“How is it you do not understand?”

How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?

 

Person(s) being questioned:

the disciples, presumably the Twelve

Question behind the question:

the question: do you have calloused hearts?

Is your spiritual understanding insensitive to new teaching?

Are you stuck in a rut? your already-established ways of thinking about spiritual concepts, even life in general?

Are you not developing a more accurate (biblically consistent) worldview?

Expected response:

still playing catch-up – when questioned directly about spiritual things, might have given good answer

Jesus’ whole way of thinking mostly new to them – they could figure it out… with reminders… and lots of effort

seems “playing field” was still pretty level, at least no disciple brave enough to take risk of thinking outside culturally influenced box, then speaking up to influence discussion

NOTE: Mark 8:16 describes group discussion resulting in stated conclusion – arrived at it together

Jesus’ point:

his kind of teaching intended / designed to do far more than supply facts – expected them to use reasoning ability, develop new connections / pathways and ultimately new conclusions

iow, he expected regular exposure to sound teaching would result in them acquiring new worldview… significantly different from that of Pharisees

that they had not done so could be symptom of “calloused” understanding – unresponsive to outside influence, hearing but not receiving (bouncing off the callouses)

if they were really thinking, had enough experiencing to know Jesus not worried about food (2 miracles) – must be talking about something other than that

Modern Application:

regular exposure to sound spiritual teaching, both public and private, should constantly correct how we think and act

must be careful to not reject something or resist being influenced by it just because it doesn’t fit our paradigm

should believe what we do because we have been convinced ultimately by God’s word and Spirit… even when it requires change

46. Is your heart still hardened?

Mark 8:17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?

Read: Mark 8:13-21; Matthew 16:5-12

Setting: with the Twelve, approaching Bethsaida (Mar 8:22), teaching as they walked

Jesus issued warning the Twelve misunderstood – he had spiritual matters in view, they didn’t

Jesus compared faulty doctrine of religio-political leaders to leaven, used the word in place of the concept – disciples took it “literally”

Jesus overheard the discussion, obviously way off the mark, challenged them with whole series of questions:

 

Mark

Matthew

1

Why do you reason because you have no bread?

Why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?

2

Do you not yet perceive nor understand?

Do you not yet understand,  

3

Is your heart still hardened?

 

4

Having eyes, do you not see?

 

5

And having ears, do you not hear?

 

6

And do you not remember?

Do you not… remember…

7

“When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?”

[Do you not remember] the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?

8

“Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?”

Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?

9

“How is it you do not understand?”

How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?

 

Person(s) being questioned:

the disciples, presumably the Twelve

Question behind the question:

the question: do you have calloused hearts?

Is your spiritual understanding insensitive to new teaching?

Are you stuck in a rut? your already-established ways of thinking about spiritual concepts, even life in general?

Are you not developing a more accurate (biblically consistent) worldview?

Expected response:

still playing catch-up – when questioned directly about spiritual things, might have given good answer

Jesus’ whole way of thinking mostly new to them – they could figure it out… with reminders… and lots of effort

seems “playing field” was still pretty level, at least no disciple brave enough to take risk of thinking outside culturally influenced box, then speaking up to influence discussion

NOTE: Mark 8:16 describes group discussion resulting in stated conclusion – arrived at it together

Jesus’ point:

his kind of teaching intended / designed to do far more than supply facts – expected them to use reasoning ability, develop new connections / pathways and ultimately new conclusions

iow, he expected regular exposure to sound teaching would result in them acquiring new worldview… significantly different from that of Pharisees

that they had not done so could be symptom of “calloused” understanding – unresponsive to outside influence, hearing but not receiving (bouncing off the callouses)

if they were really thinking, had enough experiencing to know Jesus not worried about food (2 miracles) – must be talking about something other than that

Modern Application:

regular exposure to sound spiritual teaching, both public and private, should constantly correct how we think and act

must be careful to not reject something or resist being influenced by it just because it doesn’t fit our paradigm

should believe what we do because we have been convinced ultimately by God’s word and Spirit… even when it requires change

45. Why does this generation seek a sign?

Mark 8:12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”

Read: Mark 8:11-12; John 12:37-43; Matthew 16:1-4 

Setting: exact location uncertain, somewhere in Galilee probably south of Capernaum near the shore of the Sea of Galilee (near Magdala?)

little description given of Jesus’ actions leading up to confrontation – was accompanied by the Twelve, almost certainly instructing them as they walked along

may have begun to attract other listeners, certainly noticed by Pharisees who took immediate action – acted as gatekeepers for that region

belligerent confrontation… satisfy our demands or else – iow, prove to our satisfaction that you have authority to act as you do

NOTE: God has assigned task of gatekeeping to shepherds so flock is protected from harm; Pharisees had different agenda, defending their established religious territory at all costs, even at cost of truth

Person(s) being questioned:

soliloquy: “talking to or conversing with oneself, or of uttering one’s thoughts aloud without addressing any person” OED

question not addressed to anyone in particular, statement that immediately follows intended for all within earshot… primarily Pharisees

Question behind the question:

What good purpose would giving another sign serve?

If you cannot (or will not) properly discern the meaning / evidence from signs you already have, what would another one change?

Expected response:

if they answered honestly: to try to use it in a way to discredit Jesus in eyes of people

probably would have given response intended to assure public they (Pharisees) were looking after their best interests, just doing their job

Jesus’ point:

no amount of evidence will persuade individual determined to disbelieve – confirmed by rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:31 

rational or logical argument will not convince of spiritual truth – same is true of physical / tangible evidence such as signs, wonders, archaeological/geological evidence

immediate audience was not intellectually deficient… they could figure out the weather… they were spiritually deficient and trying to meet their demands would profit nothing

Modern Application:

e.g. evidence for Creation, proof of resurrection, accuracy of Bible cannot persuade someone to become a Christian

those evidences can and should confirm that such beliefs are rational, have a solid foundation, are far more than mythology

good to use evidence to inform others we have reasons for our faith in addition to the spiritual components

Sign of the prophet Jonah:

 1. Jonah was thrown into the sea by the mariners, to whom he had entrusted himself: Christ was delivered to death by the Jews, to whom he was specially promised.

2. Jonah was willingly thrown into the sea: Christ laid down his life, and man took it not from him.

3. Jonah by being cast into the sea saved those in the ship: Christ by his death saved the children of men.

4. Jonah after he had been in the whale’s belly three days was cast up on dry land: Christ after three days rose again from the dead.

5. The Ninevites, though upon the preaching of Jonah they made a show of repentance, yet returning to their former sins were soon after destroyed; so were the Jews within forty years after Christ’s ascension.

    So as Jonah was many ways an eminent sign and type of Christ. Our Lord having referred them to study this sign, would entertain no more discourse with them, but leaves, and departeth from them.

Quoted in Matthew Poole on Matthew 16:4