Questions with an Invitation
by Tommy Overton
And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
A thoughtful, engaging question is good for the soul. The way Jesus used questions was perfectly stunning. His questions can draw us closer to Him.
Recently, one of our pastors asked a challenging question right out of the gate. His sermon began with this: “Do you truly understand Jesus Christ?” That question is penetrating and unsettling. Our honest response to that question could change our lives. In order to feel its weight, let’s expand on the word understand by inserting the definition— Do you truly understand Jesus and are you thoroughly familiar with the character and propensities of Him and grasp the significant implications and importance of His life?
Now, how would you answer this question?
One way to answer is factually. However, we know that a few bits of information does not get to the heart of the question. It is the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. A fifth grader who has a relationship with Christ could give a correct answer this question, and yet the most brilliant philosopher in the world would probably provide a well-articulated but incorrect answer. How would you answer? Whatever we do with this question, please don’t minimize it or ignore it but wrestle with it. Better yet, bring it to Jesus.
I have great news for you. Jesus made it possible for you and me to honestly and accurately answer this question! He wants you to understand and even delight in Him. He initiated the relationship. The Gospel makes it possible for His people to be thoroughly familiar with His matchless character and propensities and grasp His unrivaled significance. Amazing!
The “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” not to play a game of cosmic Jeopardy but to redeem us, adopt us, and bring us into union with Him. The entire book of Hebrews reveals not only the supremacy of Christ but also the access He gives us to actually know Him. The character and heart of Jesus is revealed in the Gospel, “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7).
None of us fully understand Jesus. To comprehend the wonder and awe of our Lord and Savior will take all of eternity. But for you and me today, the process of honestly answering this question is good for our souls. Furthermore, in Mark 8, Jesus has more questions. These questions that He asked His disciples in the 1st century are still relevant for His disciples in the 21st century. Here are just a few
1. Do you not yet perceive or understand?
2. Are your hearts hardened?
3. Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?
4. Do you not remember?
As we walk toward the cross and the empty tomb during this season of Lent, let’s use these questions to care for our soul. Do not answer these on your own but invite the Holy Spirit into the process. Otherwise, it is just brain exercise. The goal is not to get an A on the test but rather to know, love, and enjoy Jesus now.
A final invitation to you. If you would like a friend to walk with you as you honestly wrestle with these or any other questions about God, then please contact me or any of the pastors at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. This is an open invitation.