Who is the only person who asked more questions than Columbo? (I’m showing my age!)
Here are some clues…
“Why do you worry about clothes?” “Why are you so afraid?” “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” “What did you go out into the desert to see?” “Why did you doubt?” “Do you still not understand?” “Who do you say I am?” “How long shall I put up with you?” “What do you want me to do for you?” “How will you escape being condemned to hell?” “What did Moses command you?” “Do you see all these great buildings?” “Where is your faith?” “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
These are just of the few questions Jesus asked in the Gospels, so now I have a question. Why so many questions?
Jesus, in whose likeness we are called to grow, asked far more questions than he answered. In the Gospels, there are 307 questions asked by Jesus, with only 183 questions asked of him, and he only answers 3 in response. That’s a ratio of answering only 1 question for every 100 he asks!
As a Christian wanting to tell people the good news of Jesus, a whole world of opportunity opened up to me when I finally learned that the best way to “tell” is to “ask”. First, I learned that if I want to initiate a conversation in the first place, all I have to do is ask. Then I found out that the best way to earn the right to be heard by a stranger is to ask them about their story. Most people enjoy talking about themselves, even to a stranger!
I also learned the value of asking clarifying questions, as people label their experiences but may have totally different definitions of what those labels mean. For example, in a recent conversation with Alejandro, early 20’s, I found out that his understanding of “original sin” is that he has inherited the sin of Adam but that these sins were washed away at his baptism as an infant and he began life with a “clean slate” because of Jesus. But as he continues to sin as an adult, he would say that although Jesus gave him the opportunity to be saved, it is up to him to earn it through a combination of good behavior and confession. I needed to speak to this misconception, but the only way I knew about his beliefs was to ask good questions.
I went on to ask Alejandro questions about how he would be judged by the Ten Commandments, getting him to judge himself rather than me feeling the need to preach at him. I believe these questions all helped him see his need for forgiveness in Jesus.
However, being aware of the limited timespan of conversations like this, I pretty much abandoned my many questions in favor of just sharing the Gospel straightforward. In the end, I fell far short of Jesus’ example of asking so many questions and helping people discover truth for themselves.
Alejandro, to his credit, took over with the questioning, asking me repeatedly toward the end, “I may or may not have learned a few things in our conversation, but what have you learned? If you take some time to think about it, I’m sure you’ve learned something.”
I’m know he is right. I learn a lot in all my outreach conversations. Ever since I started asking a lot of questions.
See our conversation HERE