by Art Greco
Voltaire encouraged us to “Judge people by their questions rather than their answers.” I think he was on to something. Sometimes it’s the questions people ask that stay with us and lead us into our greatest discoveries, isn’t it? Francis Schaeffer’s great question of the late 70s was, “How should we, then, live?” The end of one of my favorite movies, “To End All Wars” concludes with the question, “At what price mercy?” And what lover of God could bundle biblical history’s most profound questions without mention of the one God asks in Isaiah 6, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
Voltaire was right. Most people can give quick answers – often absurd answers. But it’s an increasingly rare thing to hear someone offer a deep, penetrating, thoughtful, “ponder-worthy” question. And it’s those questions that are often the best windows to someone’s soul.
Perhaps no question, though, reveals more of what’s in a person’s heart than one asked of Jesus by the repentant thief that hung next to him on a cross. He was among the first to make the request – maybe even THE first to ask so directly and with such insight when he mouthed words countless multitudes from every tribe and tongue on Earth have spoken since: “Jesus, will you remember me when you enter your kingdom?” In other words, “Jesus, can I be forgiven? And if so, will you please forgive me and receive me as your child?”
Think what we will about this man because of his station in life and the crimes he committed, but we’d be much better served to judge him instead by his question. It’s the questions we ask that display our level of faith, depth, and spiritual longing.
Here are some good biblical questions to ponder. Read each text and consider the question it asks. List some of the faith and character traits implied by these questions. Take particular note of how YOU might answer them.
- Genesis 3:1
- Genesis 4:9
- Psalm 119:9
- Matthew 16:15
- Matthew 18:21
- Mark 8:36
- Luke 18:18
- John 3:4
- Romans 8:31
Of all the questions you read and considered here:
- which one stands out as the one that most clearly “judges” you?
- Which one most represents the best of you?
- Take a moment for prayer around the previous two points.
BE A BLESSING
Which question clearly reminds you of a positive trait in someone you know and respect?
Now send that person an email and let them know that God brought them to mind … and why.
Time for a dinner party. Invite two or three people over for a BBQ or pizza. While together, lead a discussion of the value of a good question. Discuss your understanding of how Jesus used questions when leading people and how he responded to them when they were asked of him. Then talk about any questions you all think God might be asking you and any you’d like to ask of Him.
Close your time with one sentence prayers – all in the form of a question ... then you might end each prayer by saying, “Amen?” ;-)