Jesus who asks questions
Reading: Luke 19:1-10
Jesus came to Jericho.
Many people gathered to see who Jesus was.
Then on his way, Jesus healed Bartimaeus to see.
So Bartimaeus was praising God and following Jesus.
And more people came out to see who Jesus was.
Then a chief of tax collectors of Jericho, whose name was Zacchaeus came to see Jesus who opened the eyes of Bartimaeus to see.
Zacchaeus was wealthy and could have been called as a big sinner in Jericho.
No one called him righteous or religious.
Being a short man, he could not even see the face of Jesus, because many people came out to see Jesus.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree and waited for Jesus to come by.
Jesus saw him and came to where he was and said to him:
“Zacchaeus, come down.
I must stay at your house today.”
What was Jesus was saying again?
Jesus was like:
“I must stay at your house today.
God asked me to stay with you today.
God told me you would welcomed me gladly.
God told me you would be saved today.”
People like Jesus never came to his house.
But Zacchaeus would love him and welcome Jesus into his home.
But many people of Jericho didn’t like Zacchaeus who was known as a big sinner who took away their tax money.
People thought that they had to pay more taxes because of him.
So they began to mutter:
“Jesus is the guest of a sinner.”
They could not understand Jesus.
So some people might have turned away because Jesus came to his home.
But Jesus didn’t turn away from Zacchaeus, even though Jesus could hear what they were saying.
Jesus ignored their voice and obeyed God’s voice.
Jesus felt that God was right.
So Jesus openly loved Zacchaeus and spoke blessings upon his life.
Zacchaeus realized that he was waiting for someone like Jesus to love him.
Then Zacchaeus experienced the love of God.
Then during the mealtime, he stood up and said to Jesus:
Here and now I will give half of my possessions to the poor.
And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus didn’t ask for it.
But because Zacchaeus was totally satisfied in the presence of Jesus, he could let go of his money.
He wanted to be a friend of Jesus from now on.
He was hungry for the words of Jesus, not for money anymore.
Jesus drew a very holy person out of Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus was willing to let go of his money so that people would not complain about Jesus for visiting him.
Zacchaeus was like a sponge.
As soon as a sponge touches water, it is filled with water.
As soon as Zacchaeus ate with Jesus, he was filled with the living water who is Jesus.
He understood Jesus and became his student.
So Jesus spoke:
“Today salvation has come to this house, because Zacchaeus, too, is a son of Abraham!
I came to seek and save the lost.”
Zacchaeus changed when Jesus spoke to them.
Jesus changed Zacchaeus to live like God.
The church of Jesus is called to show this kind love of Jesus.
Jesus would try to help his students to extend their hospitality to more people like Zacchaeus.
Jesus may guide his church to follow God’s leading, breaking a social boundaries.
Will all the churches understand and follow Jesus?
Then God can save God’s people through them.
When God’s people forgive people like Zacchaeus, people like Zacchaeus would understand God.
People like Zacchaeus change as the church of Jesus forgives them.
People like Zacchaeus understand Jesus as the church of Jesus welcomes them.
Now I want to think about how Jesus could live like this breaking a social boundary in his generation.
He did something what other religious people might not want to do.
How could Jesus understand that he needs to find his disciples among tax collectors who was nationally hated?
How could Jesus live like this?
Jesus might have questioned every social boundaries in his days:
Instead of following their social norm, Jesus might have asked:
Is this right with God?
Is this what God wants?
What does God say about that?
He might have asked these questions to understand God.
Then as Jesus spent a lot of times with God, he understood God’s way.
As Jesus listened to God, he knew what God wanted.
When Jesus understood God’s will, he obeyed God.
Then he saved the lost today.
What kind of social boundaries do we have today?
We may also need to question about our cultural norm.
We may ask Jesus about our social boundaries.
Then Jesus may guide our thinking so that we may understand God.
I think one of pastors’ roles is to ask questions.
If anyone wants to change anything, that person needs to ask questions.
If anyone wants to explore a new idea, that person needs to ask questions.
The Bible encourages Christians to think, meditate and ponder.
Then we realize a lot of things of God.
We may enter into God's thought more deeply.
Then we may feel God’s joy when we think certain thoughts.
Then we may know what makes God happy.
When we learn to think with God, we may be able to guess what God’s will is.
When we think with God, we find God’s answer for our questions.
In order to help his students think, Jesus asked many questions:
Sometimes, Jesus didn’t give them an answer.
Jesus simply asked them question to think about.
Some of them were rhetorical questions.
Let me share some questions that Jesus asked:
The most important question Jesus asks to everyone is:
Who do people say that I am? (Matt 16:13)
Who do you say that I am? (Matt 16:15)
Or have I been with you for so long and still you do not know me? (John 14:9)
Jesus also asked these questions:
Do you love me? (John 21: 17)
Why were you searching for me? (Luke 2:49)
What are you looking for? (John 1: 38)
What is it you want me to do for you? (Mark 10:36)
What do you want me to do for you? (Matt 20:32)
Do you want to be made well? (John 5:6)
Do you believe I can do this? (Matt 9:28)
Do you believe this? (John 11:26)
When I return, will I find any faith on earth? (Luke 18:8)
Why are you afraid? (Matthew 8:26)
Why did you doubt? (Matt 14:31)
Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25)
Why are you anxious about clothes? (Matt 6:28)
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? (Matt 6:27)
If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:26)
O faithless and perverse generation how long must I endure you? (Matt 17:17)
Do you not yet understand? (Matt 16:8)
Are even you likewise without understanding? (Mark 7:18)
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and still not see? Ears and not hear? (Mark 8:17-18)
After washing the feet of his students, Jesus asked:
Do you realize what I have done for you? (John 13:12)
Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you? (Luke 6: 46)
If you greet your brethren only, what is unusual about that?
Do not those who don’t know me do the same? (Matt 5:47)
Will not God secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? (Luke 18:7)
Will you lay down your life for me? (John 13: 38)
Jesus asked many questions to guide them.
Why did Jesus ask these questions?
Jesus wants them to think and learn.
Following Jesus was not enough.
His students must think, and learn from their experience with Jesus.
If they think, they may realize what God is teaching them.
So in our faith journey, God may ask questions:
Even before I became an ordained pastor, I felt God asked me this question sometimes.
If I was not taking care of God’s people, I felt God saying:
You are a pastor?
Are you a pastor?
God cares about me.
So God wants me to pray for them.
So I guess when I was not sure about who I am, God asked to challenge me:
Are you a pastor?
So I prayed for them at least.
Does God also ask you?
Are you a Christian?
Are you a child of God?
Are you a minister of God?
For our faith journey, we may also ask God our questions.
We ask questions to know God’s will.
Then we may hear or find God’s answer.
If you don’t have faith, you may hesitate to ask questions.
But when we study the Bible, we have many questions to ask of God.
Asking good and honest questions is important for our spiritual growth.
Yes, if we have faith, we ask questions and wait, because we know God will answer.
Then we will know God really answers.
When we learn from God like that, we may have a greater faith.
When we find an answer like this, it stay with us longer.
So ask questions in faith.
God is able to answer.
Ask honest questions.
Ask good questions.
Then you will have good and honest answers from God.
Some of you know on Friday, when someone asks me a question, sometimes, I ask them back or share that question with the group, because I want people to think.
Then we together can learn through our conversation.
If we give them our answer right away, it would be like giving a fish.
But if we help them to think, it would be like teaching them to catch fish.
Then when people learn to think and know how to think, they find many answers alone.
They could learn to think in God’s way:
They could realize God’s will.
Then as they think, they may understand God.
So if you want to help others, even when you can give your answer, ask a honest and good questions and give them a chance to think.
You may find some people wait for someone to ask them questions to get to know them.
Sometimes one of best gifts that we can give to someone is our listening ears.
Let them talk and think and learn.
Wait and pray for them as they struggle with those questions.
Then people think and learn.
Understanding comes to those who think.
But people may may make mistakes in their thinking.
They may ponder some unhealthy thoughts.
So we listen to them and guide them.
We also encourage people to read the story of Jesus:
They need to compare their thoughts with the words of Jesus.
They need to taste with the thoughts of Jesus.
Then they may remove their lack of soundness in thinking.
They may learn to think without losing their holiness that Jesus produces in them.
So as we study the story of Jesus, we think better for God.
We may discern God’s will and follow God’s thought.
We may have good faith and good understanding.
We read the story of Jesus in order to think better and understand better.
In this way, we are guided to think and discern better.
When we understand better, we have a better life.
So we need to sit down and think with the story of Jesus.
Lastly, in order to follow Jesus, we may also ask these two sets of questions.
The first set of questions is negative and the second set of questions is positive.
When I want to discern what God has been doing in my life, I ask myself these questions.
Let’s think about these questions:
For what moment are you least grateful?
When do you give and receive the least love?
When do you feel like you lose the power of life?
When were you I sad?
What was the worst part of your life?
What was the low point in your life?
When do you have the least sense of belonging to God?
For what moment in your life, are you grateful?
When do you give and receive love?
When do you feel alive?
When were you happy or joyous or peaceful?
What was the best part of your life?
What was the high point in your life?
When do you have the great sense of belonging to God?
We may ignore various signs and signals that God sends each day.
But God may give you a sense of joy and peace.
And your intuition and emotion are noticing and feel good when you follow Jesus.
So as you answer these questions, you may find God’s activities in your lives and notice more of God’s hope for your life.
Then you may realize how practically God has been loving you.
Hope this help you discern God’s thoughts and God’s way.
Hope those questions may help you follow God.
Or I hope that you have a good set of questions to discern God’s will.
Anyway, let’s ask questions to know God and let’s ask questions so that people may find God.
And wait for an answer from God and wait for others to discover God’s answer while they think.
Let’s pray for each other and wait for each other as we find God’s answer for our lives.
Jesus, help us to think and learn what you teach.
Protect our thoughts.
Help us to see our lives through your eyes so that we can see what God is doing in our life.
In your name, we pray.