Tag: Questions Jesus Asked

54. Which of them will love him more?

54. Which of them will love him more?

Luke 7:42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

Read: Luke 7:36-50


Setting: Nain: 10 miles SE of Nazareth

house of Simon the Pharisee; requested Jesus to join him for a meal – given way Simon treated Jesus, had less than upright reason for invitation

Pharisee who likely prided himself on keeping of “religious” rules failed to observe basic rules of hospitality toward Jesus

no water to wash his feet, no kiss (= handshake or hug) of greeting, no fragrant olive oil poured over his head

given relative social position, Simon looked down, way down on the woman; thoughts could have been reflected in expression, giving him away – Jesus knew what he was thinking

Jesus received permission to speak, told parable of two debtors: one owed two month’s wages, the other nearly two year’s wages, neither had any spendable income to satisfy their debt yet both were freely forgiven

Person(s) being questioned:

as often the case, Jesus intended everyone within earshot to hear and benefit – question was specifically directed to Simon

there were others at the table – see v.49

Question behind the question:

What are the connections between debt, forgiveness, and love?

Who has shown Me greater love?

Since there are two debtors equally destitute and the woman is one, who is the other?

NOTE: they are both in debt, they are both totally unable to satisfy their debt

Expected response:

since Jesus kinda set him up to give the right answer, he expected the one Simon gave

is obviously so from Jesus’ reply to Simon’s answer: “You have judged rightly”

Jesus’ point:

both Simon and the woman had a debt to God they were unable to satisfy – the only difference was perhaps one of degree

the woman by her actions showed her understanding of her need and Jesus’ provision, Simon had showed neither

God’s gift of forgiveness is freely given, yet it comes with an expectation – that the one who receives will show understanding and appreciation

understanding of need and its magnitude, appreciation for the gracious gift, action to demonstrate both

Modern Application:

we and others have same kind of debt, same absolute lack of resources to satisfy it, same dependence on God’s gracious forgiveness

really only one difference: we cannot show thankfulness directly to Jesus as the woman did – must be filtered through his statement: Matt. 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

the more we believe we have been forgiven, the more love we should show to one another

53. Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

Read: Luke 6:46-49; cf. Matt. 7:21-23; also, Mal. 1:6 


Luk 6:17-18  “…a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits”

side note: Sermon on the Mount vs. Sermon on the Plain (Matt. vs Luk.) – Luke could be summary of Matt., could also be subsequent “sermon” given after selection of Twelve

Person(s) being questioned:

primary focus of Sermon on the Mount was the disciples, probably greater number than 12; focus in Sermon on the Plain his disciples (v.20) with huge crowd listening in also

is mixture of plain teaching that could be understood by all his listeners interspersed with one or more parables (more pointedly for benefit of disciples)

bridge to next event indicates all of the Sermon was given in hearing of both disciples and multitudes – question probably not specifically directed, more a “to whom it may concern” kind

Question behind the question:

Why do you profess great respect but without any follow-thru?

What do you expect lip-service to gain you?

If both of these things are true, what kind of person does that make you?

Expected response:

if this is a “thought” question intended to provoke personal reflection, no response is expected

Jesus’ point:

should be careful NOT to read too much into word “Lord” – remember when this scene took place… near beginning of Jesus’ ministry

has not begun to say anything to his followers about his full identity – kyrios used 9000 times in LXX, 6000 to replace YHWH, but Jesus’ hearers would not make that connection first

most common daily use the equivalent of Sir or Master – would be used by anyone toward authority figure, servants toward masters

to verbally claim respect, actively show absence of respect is hypocritical – will earn rejection from one addressed

when master/lord gave a command or instruction, expected it to be obeyed instantly without discussion or argument

Modern Application:

concept of deity, association with Jesus as his name came later… after resurrection – became article of faith at Pentecost (Acts 2:36), established as evidence of salvation (Rom. 10:9-10) in early church

fits with what came immediately before (tree and fruit) – the one who rightly claims Jesus as Lord will do what he says, will show by their fruit what kind of tree

the one who does not do what he says shows by their fruit what kind of tree – should not be surprised to hear “I never knew you”

so we’re not guilty of hypocrisy, make sure we do what he says; and… don’t be afraid, under right circumstances, to challenge someone who says but does not do

can remind / read to them what Jesus said – see Matthew and Luke

52. Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?

Luke 2:49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Read: Luke 2:41-52

“Did you not know that in the this of my Father it is necessary for me to be?”; “about my Father’s business” NKJV; “in my Father’s house” ESV; “involved in my Father’s interests” CSB

Setting: Temple in Jerusalem, probably in one of covered porch areas along sides of Court of the Gentiles

Passover followed by 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread – so, 8 days in Jerusalem, a day’s journey out, another back, then the search… 11+ days

last Passover/Feast time for Jesus before his bar mitzvah, becomes legally responsible for own actions, allowed to lead in family/community religious exercises

participating in theological discussion with religious teachers, astonishing those who were listening

Person(s) being questioned:

Mary & Joseph – 2 ways to know it was both: he said to αυτους (them); why were you seeking (2P), didn’t you know (2P)

no reason to believe Jesus or parents made a scene

might have called Jesus to the side, kept it a low-key family matter; τέκνον more than simply son in general (υἱός) or male child (παῖς); τέκνον includes aspects of affectionate relationship (can be used without respect to age, e.g., children/sons of God 3x, John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2)

Question behind the question:

Why did you need to search? Where else would you expect to find me?

Who is my father? Who should receive primary allegiance?

Don’t you understand who I am? Don’t you know why I am here?

Expected response:

all of these things were crystal clear to Jesus – at least on “human level”, he assumed they would also be clear to Joseph and Mary

if Jesus’ real mission was ever family topic of discussion, end result was only partial comprehension on part of Joseph and Mary

probably expected his questions to be reminder to them – “oh yeah, now I get it, duh”, especially from Mary… given what she heard 13 years prior from Gabriel, Elisabeth, Simeon

do need to remember: although Jesus was eternal God, at same time he was 12 year old boy – not at full maturity yet (see v.52)

Jesus’ point:

three things need to be kept in proper place – Mary’s statement (v.48c), Jesus’ response (v.49b), Luke’s summary (v.51b)

Mary raises Jesus’ step-father’s concerns – Jesus responds with Heavenly Father’s concerns – in practice, Jesus was subject to both

Luke had already shown relationship of Jesus toward Heavenly Father, includes important fact that Jesus maintained proper attitude toward Joseph and Mary also

given Jesus’ true identity, shouldn’t take too much thought to figure out where he would probably be, what he would be doing

even at age 12 Jesus had pretty clear sense of mission, recognition of God’s call on his life – understood priority of God’s demands, at same time, did not treat authorities as mutually exclusive

submission to requirements of Heavenly Father included being subject to earthly parents – still had some growing up to do

Modern Application: 

Jesus was unique, at same time he was one of us – young age should not by itself cause us to discount child’s ability to know God’s will and purpose for their life

if it is genuine, will be accompanied by teachable spirit, willing submission to other legitimate authorities (parents, teachers, pastors, etc.)

God is umbrella authority, not exclusive one – he ranks highest, yet at same time he has purposely made place for earthly authority structures/individuals in home, church and state

proper submission to God’s authority and will requires proper attitude toward other “secondary” authorities – only escape clause: will submission to earthly authority cause sin against God… forbid what He requires, require what He forbids

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 



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 


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



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