Jesus asked lots of questions! In the Gospels Jesus asks 307 questions. That’s alot! Jesus
is asked 183 questions from other people of which he answers just a small handful.
Asking questions was central to Jesus' life and teachings!
Jesus knew the importance of knowing where people are in their thinking, their emotions and their
situations. Jesus knew that if we are to help people come closer to God then we need to understand
first where and what we’re helping them ‘from’! Just see Jesus with the woman at the well!
The letters of the New Testament are littered with even more questions. This is because the writers
knew the same thing. We can only help people if we find out where they are, and we find out where
they are by asking questions.
In the Gospel God finds people ‘where they are in their life’. He meets them by giving them a saving
revelation of Jesus His Son that is precisely relevant to the place that this person finds themselves in.
For instance, Peter, who is asked questions by Jesus throughout the Gospels, or Paul, whose heart is
revealed through being asked a question by the great question-asker, Jesus! Acts 9:4.
So, God meets the lonely in their most empty place. God meets the addicted at the very emotional
anguish of what has driven them to addiction; he meets the prideful at the place where their greed
for even more self esteem has let them down again and left them once again empty, the angry he
meets at the source of their biggest frustration, the unforgiving one He meets in their place of
deepest bitterness, and so on. God meets them all in these places and leads them to Jesus’ cross –
the place of their being born again to new life and new heart.
If we are to share the Good News of Jesus with people we meet in our daily lives, we need to be
those who, like Jesus, are able to have a conversation; are able to find out how and where people
are in their lives! That’s because starting to share Jesus with people is much less a matter of making
speeches to them, and much more a function of listening to them! Only after listening can we help
lead people to the one who has all the answers, Jesus!
But, this presents us with a problem, because it’s generally true to say that as a generation and as a
society we have forgotten how to have a conversation! This hugely limits how effective and fruitful
we are for God!
By way of illustration; next time you hear two people talking, or hear a group of people interacting,
listen to them. The majority of the ‘dialogue’ is made up of a series of statements made by each
individual about themselves. Very rarely will you hear one of the participants asking a question
about something in the life of the other.
This is how it goes; the first person makes a statement about themselves, then the second person
makes a statement about themselves, and so it continues until they run out of things to say about
This is not a conversation, it is a series of mini-speeches! Each speech is given by one to the other.
During the exchange the two people are thinking only about the next thing they can say about
themselves or about their lives. At the end of the exchange they leave having said much about
themselves, but having found out little or nothing about the person they are talking to.
What is a conversation?
In short, a conversation is sacrificial! A conversation is most interested in the other person. Aconversation discovers things about the other person. As a mutual discovering takes place, someaningful conversation is happening.This is how it goes;The first person asks a question about the second person’s life or about a particular subject.The second person answers, and the first person might empathize or ask further questions aboutwhat the second person has said.After a while the second person asks their own question about the first person’s life or about theparticular subject. Occasionally one will offer an opinion on what is being discussed, and this onlyserves to offer more opportunity to ask even more questions. And on it goes. This is aconversation!When a conversation has finished, genuine exchange has happened; genuine community has beenshared. A conversation puts the other person first. Two people having a conversation is a rich andmeaningful sharing.If we are to share Jesus in a meaningful way with people in our generation we must RediscoverConversation! Why? Because the Gospel meets people where they are in life, and if we’re notasking questions, then we’re not finding out where people are, and so we aren’t able to help themsee that the cross meets them exactly in their particular situation – where they are!Incidentally, Rediscovering Conversation does not negate the importance of God giving us words ofknowledge to uncover where people are, and we must earnestly ask He give us these precious HolySpirit-given insights continually. But at the same time, we don’t rely solely on receiving words ofknowledge – we can ask questions too.In our churches themselves, we must Rediscover Conversation – only then will we see meaningful,rich community relationships grow around us.We must learn to think less about relating to others by having our mini-speech- dialogues, and moreabout discovering the other person through being interested in them and asking them questions –Rediscover Conversation.So, next time you’re in a dialogue with someone – rather than thinking about what you can say nextabout yourself – try turning it into a conversation. Try asking the other person some questionsabout them or their life. You’ll be amazed at what you find out about them, and it might even leadto you showing them how only the cross of Jesus meets them where they truly are; meets themenough to save them, and meets them enough to change them! Through this Conversation, Jesuswill get the glory, the church will grow, and you will make new friends!Jesus knew the importance of Conversation; we need to Rediscover it!