Hmm. God knows everything. God asks questions. Doesn’t this seem rather strange? If God does know everything, why does He ask questions? Asking questions is often a helpful way to find out new information, but did you know that questions serve purposes other than helping you learn something? Questions give people the opportunity to learn, share, think and grow. In reading the Bible, there are many exchanges where the Creator of the universe uses questions to speak into lives of people. God knew where Adam was hiding in the garden, but he still asks, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). Jesus, being fully God and a master teacher asks questions all through the Gospels. In Matthew 16:13-16 we see such an account: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus is surrounded by a group of His disciples who have walked and ate with Him. They have seen Him perform miracles and teach amazing truths about living in relationship with God. He draws the disciples in by asking them to share what other people are saying about His identity. The disciples offer “the best of” what they have heard about “Who is Jesus?”: John the Baptist- back from the dead; the prophet Elijah or even Jeremiah, or maybe even another prophet. Then Jesus moves into another query as the question becomes more personal: “But what you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” He was not looking for the crowd’s answers, but their own response. What had they learned? What did they believe? How would they respond? I imagine there was a moment of silence and eyes looking around, when Simon Peter blurts out what he believes and knows about Jesus. Peter’s confession revealed that he believed Jesus was God and that Jesus was the only way to God. Jesus replied to Peter with words of affirmation as this truth was given to him by God and he had responded to it. Jesus continues to empower Peter with words about his character as he called him a “Rock” knowing full well that Peter would have his struggles. Jesus uses these questions to help Peter learn and respond to Him. So, what’s the real question? It’s not “Why does God ask questions?” or “Why does Jesus ask questions?” It’s “How can questions help people love and respond to Him?”
If Jesus were to ask you a question, what do you think he would ask? How would you respond?
Frank Alioto is the pastor of The River Covenant Church: “An Alaskan church for people who would rather go to the River.” We gather on Sundays, 10:30 AM at K-Beach Elementary in Soldotna. 252-2828 or www.therivercovenantchurch.org