In a Christian culture that often celebrates performance as passion instead of intimacy and rest, we may be tempted to avoid asking our most important and difficult questions we carry with us. But if the Gospel is any indication, this is the opposite of what Jesus values. Jesus invites us to ask the questions everyone else can’t handle. In fact, Jesus Himself asks questions. Lots of them.
According to author Martin Copenhaver, the Bible shows that Jesus asks 307 different questions in the Gospels, and out of the 103 questions that Jesus is asked, He only answers three.
Think about it, if you were Jesus and you knew you only had a limited time on earth (forget your five-year plan) to tell everyone about God, wouldn’t you cram as much information and knowledge as possible, into every available second?
But this isn’t how Jesus spent his time. Jesus wanted to experience life together, as it unfolded quietly with everyday people. He made friends, relaxed with them, ate with them. Jesus listened to them. And when His friends felt lost and confused, He wept with them and held them.
Jesus told stories that created more questions than answers. Jesus loved making conversation by answering questions—with more questions. In other words, Jesus is more interested in your questions, rather than you knowing the answers. Jesus longs for relationship and intimacy with you.
Questions Invite Intimacy
Jesus invites us to experience the realities of life with Him—instead of avoiding them. Why? Questions invite intimacy. Questions invite honesty. Questions invite discovery and change. Questions inspire us to experience life rather than waiting for the answers.
Growing up as problem-solver, I was good at finding answers, but I was never prepared to struggle with hard questions. Will I ever really fall in love? What is my calling? These are the big questions I asked God for many years.
I prioritized serving God in ministry, trusting for His answers. So, I was surprised to find myself entering my 30s still single, feeling more confused about what I wanted and what God’s plans were for me. Family relationships were growing more troubled and although I had a good job working in Silicon Valley, I was unhappy. Disconnected. I felt stuck. The problem is that the longer it took God to answer my questions, the more I began dismissing them.
I began numbing myself to the disappointments and losses. I stopped asking and moved into auto-pilot mode, keeping busy, instead of being honest about the matters of my heart. But I began experiencing depression and anxiety for the first time. In this experience, I discovered we were never made to hide our questions, especially the ones we struggle with. It wasn’t until I started asking myself the questions I long ago abandoned that I began to heal, come alive again and find my way back to intimacy with God.
Six Important Questions Jesus Asks Of Us
In light of a new year approaching, here are six questions Jesus asked His friends 2,000 years ago that He asks you and me today.
What are you looking for?
When Jesus noticed some disciples were following him, Jesus asked what they were looking for. Instead of teaching a lesson, Jesus offered them an invitation to share an experience. “Come and see.” (John 1:38-39) What are your desires? Instead of giving an answer, Jesus may be inviting you to go on a journey He wants to experience with you. Will you go?
What is your name?
What are your questions about who God created you to be? Jesus made a detour to country called Gergesenes to visit and free just one man, who couldn’t find peace day or night, because he was possessed by his demons. There were so many, Jesus asked his name. (Luke 8:29)
Jesus initiated this conversation. It is important to Jesus—to name what paralyzes us. He cares. We can name our anxious thoughts with him. One by one. He won’t turn away. Jesus is passionately interested in who you are, not just what you know or what you can do for him.
Why are you afraid?
Although many of his disciples were experienced fishermen, they became overwhelmed by an unexpected storm. Jesus understands you may be afraid. What is the storm you’re facing?
Jesus wants to experience life with you through your eyes, your heart, your dreams, your sorrows and even your deepest pain. We don’t have to be lonely. We can be loved.
Why are you crying? Where have you laid him?
Mary and Martha had already buried Lazarus in the tomb. When Jesus returned, Jesus asked to see where they placed his body. (John 11:31) And when Mary Magdalene was overwhelmed with grief, Jesus asked why she was crying. (John 20:15)
Maybe this is a season of letting go or loss for you. Will you show Jesus where you buried your dreams, whether it be a relationship, a job, an opportunity or maybe even a memory or a hope? Let Jesus into those secret places.
Why have you forsaken me?
Jesus Himself felt abandoned, heartsick and alone as He stood on the cross. Unlike us, Jesus did not yield to temptation. Jesus stayed on the cross, so you and I don’t have to carry our anxieties or pain alone. (Matthew 27:46)
What are you talking about as you walk along?
Jesus loves hearing your unfinished stories, about what confuses you, happens to you, the communities you live in, the people you care about and the injustices you’ve witnessed. When two friends left Jerusalem after Jesus’ death for Emmaus, all their hopes crashed in just one night. Then, a quiet stranger walked beside them and by the time they finished confiding, they recognized this stranger was actually their friend, Jesus (Luke 24:17).
If you were known by a question, which one would you ask Jesus today?
Danish theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
As we celebrate Christmas, give yourself permission to invite Jesus into the vacancies of your heart—where you’ve stopped asking the hard questions. Maybe like me, you’re hesitant to hope again. Jesus understands. He takes your hand in his and calls you His very own. Ask your hard questions with Jesus and find the light of His love rekindled in you today.
is author of the 40day soul detox Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Klove, Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons.