Tag Archives: questioning Jesus

questioning Jesus, Mark 14 “Are you not going to answer?”-

12 Sep

“Are you not going to answer?” …

Note the ‘not’ in the Chief Priests question to Jesus. He does not say, ‘ are you going to answer?’ The Priest puts the ‘not’ in his challenge to emphasise Jesus self-silencing.

Jesus silences himself as he is no longer teaching out to a crowd in the Temple, or washing his disciples’ feet in an Upper Room, or healing wounded soldier in the Garden. He has prayed to his father and asked that his, this cup, be removed. But it is His Father’s will that Jesus holds, drinks from this earthly cup. Self-Silencing can be an isolating negative; it can be a step an addict or a person who has experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse takes to protect their heart and self.

I believe Jesus is following another principle in his self- silencing. But first let us look at the whole arrest narrative from Mark,

They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. 55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

Jesus here is silent because he will not answer, submit to questions that are lies. He self-silences so not to be touched by their words or questions. But then comes another question,

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

62 I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

63 The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you

Jesus answers ‘ I am.’ He answers this one question, the query on Jesus’ nature: he must answer, ‘I am.’ He speaks, answers only on this: he is God, I am.

The priest’s reaction; his clothes tearing and statement questions to the chosen audience confirms his and Jesus’ earthly fates: one can not see, listen or hear and one hears and sees all. Jesus speaks his unity his the cup, with his father, with us: he is the ‘I am.’ and so…

They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.


questioning Jesus, Mark 14, arrested

11 Sep

‘Just as he was speaking,…’

Judas appears. He does not speak words; his speech to the soldiers, the disciples, to Jesus, and to us is a kiss. A kiss that leads to an arrest, a trio, a, his, death. Judas’ kiss ends Jesus’ speech.

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!”and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Jesus submits in self-silence.

53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. 57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

The witnesses can not agree, but Jesus still must be questioned. Soon he will be.

questioning Jesus, Mark 14, a last meal

8 Sep
one by one, they ask

Preparations for this Passover meal, this important time of teaching and serving, begins with the disciples question,

12 ‘On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”’

Where do you want us to go…?

Jesus wants them, us, to go with him. To be alongside him.

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

Jesus gives the disciples their ‘where’ question back and tells them how to use this ‘where.’

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” 19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

‘…and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”’

Pause, reader please pause here. Each of them, one by one, ask Jesus if they were to be his betrayer.

They didn’t know their own hearts. Except that they were capable of betraying Jesus. And their question reveals their hearts’ actions: each one will betray Jesus.

They all left him. These betrayals are from their falling to sleep; to their leaving him in Roman and Sanhedrin hands and a Pilate’s hands. In a mob’s voice that had called ‘Hallelujah’ a week previous and now called for ‘Barabas.’

20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” 22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

“Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.”

All of them took the cup from Jesus’ hand, one by one, and they all, all drank. All.

All are with Jesus. Even as they question themselves this night, Jesus is with all betrayers. He drinks, eats, loves, forgives all. 

Where are they, where we? With Jesus. Drinking the cup with Jesus.

questioning Jesus, Mark 13 ‘but’

6 Sep

today, 6 September we will look again at Mark 13, and ‘watching’: what are we, am I, watching for?

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

watch for men, people, who hate; endure, watch and endure

14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

what am I, what is Jesus’ close disciples seeing as they sit together facing the temple from the Mont of Olives? … an ‘abomination of desolation’ by, within, the temple…stones are not just upturned and shattered, but they are ‘solo’ alone, shamed, isolated and impure… watch.., these stones will be dust

and.. the end times, end time? When?

But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

and …where is my heart as I watch?

Proverbs 3, The Message, speaks on where all hearts, my heart, should rest,

‘No need to panic over alarms or surprises,
or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner,
Because God will be right there with you;
he’ll keep you safe and sound.’

Nothing, no thing, will harm me, us, no matter how anxious I am… he is right there with me.

Right…, I am right m, for he is there.

He is here.

questioning Jesus, Mark 12, death

29 Aug

Parable of the Vine-growers

12 ‘And He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 2 At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 3 They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.6 He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8 They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
11 This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.

Jesus asks the question after the story today: What will the owner of the vineyard do?

He will come and destroy; he will give the vineyard to others. He will reject, expel, silent those who do not see the marvellous cornerstone. What were these teacher builders seeking, seeing?

Jesus’ death.

Jesus in his mercy tells them the hate filled story of their hearts. And they can’t hear; can’t see. Jesus asks and answers his own question so they can be have the absolute, the cornerstone truth.

And so they continue to plan to kill Jesus. This is what they are planting: death.safly, their own.

questioning Jesus, Mark 8b, ‘As they walked…’

16 Aug
Peter, before confessing Jesus as Messiah. Artist: El Greco

‘Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?” …,’

Walking engenders deep conversations, both internal dialogues and with those whom we walk with. Jesus is alongside his friends, his disciples, and with himself. Jesus asks them to identity, to define him, their Jesus.

28 ‘“Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

29 He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”

I love this Peter. The unbroken and impulsive Peter; the quick to speak and slow, super slow, to listen. He is never listening Peter.

This ‘Jesus question’ has to be the essence of all their walks and all their questioning lives. And it is quite telling that Jesus asks his closest of friends this question ‘as they walk.’ Why?

On a road, not in a synagogue or home, they are relaxed and moving. Jesus wants, I believe, to hear their walking response, their living moment’s thought. He asks in this setting to hear their hearts immediate words and feelings. And Peter speaks first and for all: you are my Messiah; you are, we are all of his. Jesus is our Messiah Saviour.

30-32 “Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.”

Simply and clearly. He didn’t want them to miss what, who, he really is, who the suffering Messiah is. but…

32-33 ‘But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

I love this Peterson Message transcription of verses 32-33, “turning and seeing... disciples wavering, wondering…”

Peterson’s choice of present participles, — “ings” coveys the immediacy of movement. Jesus is confronting Peter, turning and seeing. All awhile Jesus is walking, present in this moment, with his disciples.

And Peter? He is a wonder and a disaster. And all within the same setting, the questioning moment of, ‘ Who do the people say I am?” …,’ He gets the answer correct; but when he hears how the Messiah is called to walk the Earth, he attacks Jesus’ message.

Peter misses the clear and simplebecause he has stopped walking with Jesus: Peter now desires his way, his walk. His talk.

So, Peter, get out of Jesus’ way: but, if you can walk with the Messiah.

Peter, I close with a question for you, and for myself: are you, am I, are we, walking with Jesus?

questioning Jesus’ Mark 8a deep sighs

15 Aug

There will be two shares on Mark chapter 8, today 15 August and tomorrow 16 August in our questioning Jesus series.

Today’s share, this day’s thoughts, will be on the two ‘why’ questions Jesus poses in this chapter.

‘Why’s’ are by their nature the deepest of questions, and Jesus asks both his disciples, the ‘insiders’ the Pharisees, the outsiders, whys. The first why comes to the Pharisees after the miraculous feeding of the four thousand. He then follows up this first ‘ why’ with a second one asking his disciples a ‘why’ after they misunderstand his teaching and warning.

We open with Jesus seeing the crowd, and he feels their hungers. They have been following and listening to his teachings,

6 “He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.”

Pharisees ask for a sign, and Jesus’ deeply sighs in an answer. Jesus takes a breathe. He pauses and then creates this why, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.”

Jesus’ “why” here teaches. The Pharisees must have heard of the four thousand’s feeding. Now, they are hungry. They hunger not for food, but for clarity, a clear sign, or signs. ( would one sign be enough? I don’t think so. )

Pharisees need signs for a reinforcement of their own understanding. Jesus is bringing new teachings, deeper understanding. He brings truth. He brings himself, whom they cannot ‘see.’ Jesus is the, their sign, their sigh.

Nothing else is needed.

Jesus second ‘why’ has to be an even deeper sigh than his first. It is with his disciples,

14 “The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

Twelve,” they replied.

20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

They answered, “Seven.”

21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Jesus asks his disciples to understand; to see the facts of his feeding the hungry. He needs them to think, to understand, to live deeply with him, and with others.

He wants his disciples to see that the seeds, the yeast of Herod’s and Pharisees teachings, is not bread they forgot to bring on the boat, on their travels.

He is their seed; their saviour; their sign.

His deep whys, deep SF Ugg’s, are to soften hardened hearts; to open closed, judgemental minds.

Jesus wants them to live and walk; to eat and question, to sigh with him.

He wants us to sigh with him. And in our sigh, keep asking questions, ‘whys’ so all, can, will, understand.

questioning Jesus: Mark 7, MSG ‘pollution’

13 Aug
John 13: 14 – 17

Jesus’ disciples are with him in Jerusalem. Probably, in their business, they do not ritually wash their hands before eating. Observed by religious leaders, these leaders question Jesus, but not the disciples,

5 “The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, “Why do your disciples flout the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?”

Their real question? I believe they would say,

We hate your teachings; your healings; your not bowing to the rules, rules we oversee and develop. We hate you. Why can’t you be more like us?

6-8 “Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact: These people make a big show of saying the right thing,

but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cove for teaching whatever suits their fancy, Ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.”

9-13 ‘He went on, “Well, good for you. You get rid of God’s command so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions! Moses said, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel out of that by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, ‘Gift! What I owed you I’ve given as a gift to God,’ thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. You scratch out God’s Word and scrawl a whim in its place. You do a lot of things like this.”

Did these Pharisees achieve their goal of shaming Jesus, his disciples, his followers?

Nah. How do we know? He calls all the people together to hear his Pharisee response fully,

14-15 “Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”

17 When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”

18-19 Jesus said, “Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you see that what you swallow can’t contaminate you? It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed.” (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)

20-23 He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”

What destroys, rots, moulds, pollutes? What is eaten does not pollute. What is inside, from the heart does. Hate pollutes. And it will come out. It always comes out. Sometimes, as questions. Yet, …

Jesus answers. He answers with, in truth and with love.

He loves. He loves Pharisees, the crowd, even his ‘willfully stupid’ disciples. How do we know he loves all so?

He answers and explains; he tells each group a truth is help them live. Jesus tells all the source, the essence of all pollutions. A polluted heart.

Jesus’ truth answers, cleanses. Jesus’ questioning loves. His questions washes not just our hands, he washes feet,

questioning Jesus, Mark 2

7 Aug

a, the, thinking question 2

Why is the question which, that, questions. I use my ‘whys’ rarely. After my spoken ‘why’, I lean forward and actively listen. I inquire here, with my ‘why’ only to go deeply. Deeply into the person or situation; into an image or a memory, a event. And always, all ways, deeply into myself. And, into the word…

Mark 2:1 ‘A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.’…

‘..when Jesus again entered Capernaum ..’

Again. Jesus again enters his hometown. Questions will come, again and again when Jesus enters.

‘Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”’….

‘When Jesus saw their faith…’

Not just the paralysed man, but the faith of his friends, those in the background, the unseen friends who carry, climb to a roof top and lower. Jesus feels, is moved by, their faith.

6 ‘Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”’….

Why does this fellow talk like that?’

I hold back my ‘whys’ a great deal of the time because they imply judgement: I have, I have seen all the facts. Why, did you do that? Why are you speaking like that? Defend your words, your actions. My ‘why’ usually is not a probe for deeper understanding, but a sentence, not a question, of judgement. Like these teachers of the law.

8 ‘Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts,….’

Jesus knew ‘what’ they were thinking in their hearts. What their dialogue was being exchange between hearts and minds. He knew. A fact.

….and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know

“Why are you thinking these things?”

Jesus knows their thinking’s, and ours. Mine. Jesus wants, though, to change, develop and grow their thinking by asking his ‘why’ and then saying, ‘But I want you to know ‘ Jesus shows love here with his ‘but’, his spoken words.

…. ‘that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Jesus asks ‘why’ here to challenge and change the paralysed thinkings of the law’s teachers. He does not just desire to heal one man’s immobile legs and body, but all of our sins and minds.

Jesus asks why to heal. Jesus’ why’s heals all.

questioning Jesus, the gospel of Mark- intro b: unspoken questions

5 Aug

Are there any really poor questions? Only these, from Mark 9: 30- 32

30 “And having gone forth thence, they were passing through Galilee, and he did not wish that any may know,

31 for he was teaching his disciples, and he said to them, `The Son of Man is being delivered to the hands of men, and they shall kill him, and having been killed the third day he shall rise,’ 32 but they were not understanding the saying, and they were afraid to question him.”

Why didn’t the disciples ask the big, elephant size room question? Jesus had just expelled a demon spirit from a long boy and they did asked him privately, 28 “Why could we not cast it out?”

The disciples could ask ‘why’ a few moments before, what then, now, stops their questioning?

I believe this answer lies within the first passage of our series ‘questioning Jesus’’ and verse 32: they are full of fear and lack the faith to ask.

They are fearful from their toes to their heads. They are as mute, at this teaching moment, as the boy possessed by the mute and deaf demon spirit.

Their fears fill them; they can not see or think; feel or question beyond their fears.

Only the faithful can ask real, essential, of the moment questions. Only the faithful can listen and believe.

Only the faithful can love Jesus so that they can ask true questions, faithful and self-revealing questions.

As we begin our series, write down a question you are afraid to speak. As we continue daily in ‘questions Jesus’ ask your question prayerfully, out loud if you can, to Him.

He will respond. He answers. Jesus all ways answers. ask, for you love him so.