“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).
It is difficult to imagine a more sweeping exaltation of anyone than John’s opening words describing Jesus. Packed concisely in a matter of sentences, John displays Christ’s infinitude, His omniscience, His power and His transcendence.
John’s point is clear: There is no one like Jesus in knowledge, authority, power or prominence.
When we think of a religious teacher, we may think of a guru at the top of a mountain to whom followers trek through dangerous conditions to hear a piece of sage wisdom. We may think of a charismatic prophet, holding an audience in the palm of their hand as they declare, instruct and command. We are captivated by those from whom wisdom flows like a stream to parched sojourners, looking for answers.
Jesus was undoubtedly full of wisdom and truth. He held the captivated attention of thousands as He preached. Many came and found great refreshment at the ever-flowing fountain of knowledge and revelation that Jesus provided. Indeed, John’s picture of Jesus requires us to concur with Peter as he exclaimed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68-69).
Yet even here, we find a peculiarity about Jesus. Peter spoke these words in response, not to a command from Jesus, but a question.
Why would Jesus—the One who knows every thought and word before it is uttered—ever ask a question?
What is amazing about Jesus is that He asked many questions. In fact, questions were His preferred method of interaction. The very first words of Jesus in the book of John are indeed a simple question in response to two men who were following Him:
“What are you seeking?”
Jesus asked over 100 questions in the Gospels. Consider these:
Why do you worry about clothes? (Matt. 6:28)
Why are you so afraid? (Matt. 8:26)
Do you believe that I am able to do this? (Matt. 9:28)
Why did you doubt? (Matt. 14:31)
Who do people say the Son of Man is? Who do you say I am? (Matt. 16:13, 15)
Why do you ask me about what is good? (Matt. 19:17)
What is it that you want? (Matt. 20:21)
Those are just a few of the more than 40 questions that Jesus asked in the Book of Matthew alone. This phenomenon leads us to understand something about Jesus. While Jesus has every authority and answer, interacting with Jesus is not a one-sided monologue—often the Christian life is one of questions.
There are many times I am tempted to think of Jesus as a disengaged teacher or a genie in a lamp. I go to Him when I have a question or need. Rarely, however, do I think of Jesus asking me a question. Yet in the Scriptures, people seeking a sign or a word from Jesus often received something unexpected—a conversation of introspection.
I often want exclamation points from God. I want big, bold, fast and awe-inspiring.
Yet I need to remember, more often than not, Jesus interacts with His followers through question marks.
Why? Because questions provide answers that answers alone cannot. Questions cause us to open parts of ourselves we would prefer to remain hidden. Questions expose our motives and require our time, attention and thought.
If we come to a season of confusion or doubt in which we look to the heavens and all we see are question marks, this should not lead us to conclude God is distant or disinterested. Instead, He may be engaging with us to walk down a road outside of our own knowledge and comfort.
He may be asking a question that will take us deeper than an answer ever could.
It is in these times we cling to God’s Word and remember the surety of the Gospel.
Like Peter, we come to Jesus proclaiming the He alone has the words of life. Yet we must be content—even glad—when those words end in a question mark.