How Well Do You Know Jesus – Better Questions, Better Relationship With Jesus

Jesus on Cross “Why me?”

You hear people ask questions like this all the time. Or…

“What did I do to deserve this?”

Maybe you’re even one of them?  I know I used to be and still lapse back into THINKING this type of thing every now and then when things get really tough.  But after reading a book by Andy Andrews called The Traveler’s Gift and digging into the Word a bit deeper, I’m convinced that the questions we ask ourselves not only set us up for failure or success in any given situation, but they also point to how we view and understand our relationship with God.  Let me explain by giving you some examples from scripture.

Our Questions Reveal How Well We Know Jesus

When Philip asked Jesus, “show us the Father…” Jesus replied…

“Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
(John 14:9)

See how Phillip didn’t fully understand WHO Jesus was and what His relationship to the Father was?  Jesus goes so far as to ask him “Don’t you know me, Phillip?”.  On the surface that seems pretty harsh, but even illustrates this further with “even after I have been among you such a long time?”.  While grace abounds, it’s clear Phillip asked the wrong question here based on Jesus’ response.

So does God expect us to know everything?  Nope.  That’s grace in action.  But knowing Jesus as well as is possible is the point.  Heaven and eternal life is not the point.  Eternal life with Jesus is the point.  Oh how I hope I’m wrong with what I’m about ready to say, but say it I will.  I fear so many people have said a prayer, started going to church, serving, singing and tithing thinking they are all set.  But while all those things are good, if done without seeking to make Jesus the all consuming passion and joy of your life, I fear some of them may be the ones he says “I never knew you” to.  I can’t think of anything more awful than hearing those words on that day and nothing better than “Well done good and faithful servant”.

Let’s look at some more examples.

Consider the woman at the well.

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4:9-14)

This is such a beautiful picture of so many wonderful things and so much can be said about this passage of scripture, but let’s focus on the questions.  She asks Jesus “How can you ask me for a drink?” thinking why in the world is this teacher even talking to me.  Jesus says [paraphrased] “If you knew who I was, you’d be asking me for eternal life”.  So let’s pause right there.  Jesus says “if you knew…who it is that asks you for a drink…”.

Do you see it?  She’s got the same problem that Phillip had but with a better excuse.  She doesn’t know who she’s talking to.  But notice, even though she’s still not clued in, her questions get a bit better cause she starts asking about who she’s talking to (in the “are you greater than our father Jacob” part).

Our Brains & Questions

Your brain is amazing.  And it’s because it’s so amazing that it does some slightly peculiar things.  One of those things is racing ahead and trying to constantly serve up answers to questions you ask or someone asks you.  But sometimes our brains can get stuck in a rut.  To illustrate this, try this easy test suggested in 101 Ways To Generate Great Ideas, Timothy R.V. Foster:

What do you call a funny story? – joke

What are you when you have no money? – broke

What’s another word for Coca Cola? – Coke

What’s the white of an egg? ——————–

So this is an easy one right?  Well it is if you said albumen.   It isn’t yolk, it’s albumen. Were you tricked? Most people are. The brain likes to race ahead, because it THINKS it already knows the answer.  You see your brain will always try to answer the question you ask it…even when the answer it serves up is wrong.

So when you ask self defeating or God limiting or earthly prospective (vs heavenly perspective) based questions like “why me”, you’re brain is going to work hard to serve up an answer.  But if it’s the wrong question to ask in the first place (and as a christian it most certainly is because of our knowledge of God), your soul, mind and heart don’t really WANT an answer to THAT question.  As a matter of fact, in general, they take your focus completely off God and put it squarely where it doesn’t belong…which is onto you.

Peter asked Jesus in John 21:21 “Lord what about him” in reference to how another disciple would die based on Jesus, one verse earlier, telling Peter how he was going to die.  His focus was completely on himself and not on Jesus and His perfect plan.  By the way, in the next verse Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

How much better it would be if we set our brains on a quest to answer a question with a heavenly perspective…such as, “Lord is there something I need to learn from this”, or “Lord, can you teach me how to make you my all consuming joy and passion in life”?  The brain would be on a quest to find the answer to empowering questions that bring life.  See the difference?

Pilate asked Jesus what is truth when “it” (Jesus) was standing right in front of him.  The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” Martin Luther King, Jr.

So instead of asking the self defeating or God limiting questions like  “Why me?”, train yourself to begin asking “Why NOT me?  Adversity is preparation for greatness”.  Just remember that when you ask Jesus a question His focus is on you fulfilling His purposes and will not your own.  As we live our daily lives as believers I pray your focus and mission would become one with His for your life.  Then and only then will we truly live.

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