What would you give to sit at the feet of Jesus and ask all those questions you have about life, the universe, the past and the future? What would such an encounter be like? After reading Stan Guthrie’s new book All That Jesus Asks, I’m convinced that it would be a mind-blowing and perhaps very uncomfortable experience. That’s because Jesus would be the one asking most of the questions. As Guthrie writes, “Jesus, the master teacher of history, asked probing questions of all who came to him . . . . He was intensely personal and ‘in your face.’ He frequently turned the tables on those around him, forcing them through his questions to confront issues of life and death, love and hate, heaven and hell.”
And, as Guthrie points out forcefully, Jesus’ questions recorded in Scripture are still turning tables, still forcing us to respond to Him. For example, Guthrie recounts the story of Jesus healing the woman who for 18 long years was hunched over like a boomerang because of a "disabling spirit." The woman rejoices, but the synagogue ruler does not, objecting that the miracle has occurred on the Sabbath and that she should come for healing another day. Guthrie writes, “Demanding that this woman bear up under her infirmity even one more day than she already has betrays a breathtaking ignorance of her plight.” Jesus’ questions, Guthrie notes, force us to examine whether we are just playing religious games. In this case, are we too committed to our own agendas to care for the hurting around us?
Guthrie continues. The synagogue ruler is like those among us today who complain about all those handicapped parking spaces taking up so much space at church. Would they rather have the disabled stay home? Really, folks.
We see that Jesus’ questions are much more than an intellectual challenge. They force us to examine our hearts. "Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox and his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?" Jesus asks. "And ought not this woman,” the Lord continues, “a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" The questions of Jesus Christ, of course, are living questions. Not many of us still own oxen or donkeys, but we are all tempted toward hardheartedness and hypocrisy.
Another time, after healing a man with a withered hand, Jesus gets the same flak about doing “work” on the Sabbath. “Is it lawful on the Sabbath,” Jesus asks in response, “to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” As Guthrie notes, “This wording raises the stakes for all of us. Not only is it permitted to do good on the Sabbath; it is enjoined . . . . Saving lives is not a right; it is our responsibility.”
These penetrating questions and nearly three hundred more affirm our human dignity and demand our human responsibility before God. They force all of us, of whatever faith or no faith at all, to stop, listen and answer -- with our minds and our hearts.
I believe you will find Jesus' questions as presented in All That Jesus Asks to be spiritually inspiring, not to mention a little unsettling. Be sure to come to our bookstore at www.breakpoint.org to order a copy of All That Jesus Asks.