Anyone who has ever spent a few minutes in school knows that teachers ask questions to which they already know the answer. The same is true for parents. As a mom, I may ask who cut the hole in the curtain, but I already know the answer. I just want to hear what junior will say. Will the child be honest? Or not? In some cases, questions can be loaded with a deeper meaning that becomes clear as soon as we give the answer. In this scenario, the answer requires a course of action to be taken. Is this something we will embrace? Or not?
Cases in point are the questions that God asks.
- Genesis 3:8-9. After being deceived by the serpent, Eve had eaten the apple and Adam had rebelled against God by a) letting her do it and b) eating some himself. As God visits the couple, the first question he asks is, “Where are you?” I am confident that God knew exactly where the two were physically located. What he wanted to know is where their hearts were. While in the beginning Adam and God had been close, the first act of open rebellion had put up a barrier between them.
- Matthew 16:15. “Who do you say I am?” Jesus asked this question after inquiring what the word on the street was about him. This time, he wanted to know what the disciples thought. Peter is the only one with an answer. Although a seemingly easy question, it calls for a choice. Either they believe Jesus to be a good teacher of morality or they believe him to be God. What is our answer? While we all say, “Jesus is Lord” at baptism, do we really live it out in our day-to-day life? Is Jesus an integral part of everything we do from the mundane bedtimes we have for ourselves to the way we treat a spouse, child or co-worker?
- Mark 8:36. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Jesus asked this rhetorical question right after telling his disciples what it meant to follow him. There are really only two alternatives: follow or forfeit your soul. But there is more loss than the eternal one. Chasing after the world also causes loss in this life. Learn the lesson Solomon had to experience the hard way. Although gifted with wisdom, he did what he wanted and soon lost his way in spite of his wisdom. In Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 he looks back on his life and declares all of his laboring, finagling and pleasure-seeking as being utterly meaningless. What is it that you are chasing in this world?