When an Answer May Not Be the Best Answer

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Of the 183 questions that Jesus was asked in the Gospels, He only answered three of them directly. The others, according to Dr. Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, Jesus answered by asking another question or telling a story or parable. Jesus understood the power of questions to get people thinking in new ways. Sometimes it’s a victory just to get people to think.

But no one asked more questions than Jesus. By one account, He asked 307! Someone has said if ever there was a person who had all the answers it was Jesus. Yet he rarely gave them at first. Jesus knew the power of a question to force a person to think, look at truth (i.e. reality) in a fresh way, and often themselves for the first time.

And he knew when to keep asking questions. I think of the episode with Peter in John 21. Jesus asked Peter the same question three times. This is ninja questioning. I would not recommend trying this with your boss or wife. Jesus understood the power of that question to help Peter surface what was really happening in his heart.

It is so tempting to give people the answer. Especially when we know the answer! Not knowing the answer usually doesn’t stop us either. We are helpless tellers. Sometimes an answer may not be the best answer. Energy may be better spent, figuring out how to ask the right question.

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