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Why Did Jesus Ask So Many Questions?

by | Aug 25, 2021 | Formation, Reflections, Systemic change | 2 comments

Bob Tiede always makes me think with his questions. One of his questions unlocked so many insights into Jesus’ ministerial style.  “Why did Jesus ask so many questions?”

Contrary to some common assumptions, Jesus is not the ultimate Answer Man, but more like the Great Questioner. We know that Jesus asked over 300 questions. He is asked 183. He only answers 3.

Below is some of what Bob Tiede said in his post/website.

Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, we would all do well to study the “communication practices” of the one many believe to be the greatest communicator in all of history.

Jesus’ communication style focused on two things:  He told great stories and asked great questions!

Why do you think he asked so many questions?  

Here are a few I came up with:

  • Engagement
  • Questions built relationships
  • Forced those he was interacting with to have to think
  • Created conversations
  • His listeners were more likely to own their own conclusions
  • He sometimes answered questions with questions of his own
  • He sometimes asked warm up questions to get the conversation started

Different kinds of questions

Jesus asked a variety of questions. Here are a few examples.

  1. Questions to make a human connection:
    When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  John 4:7-9
  2. Questions that caused introspection:

    “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.  Luke 6:32-36

  3. Questions that addressed worry:

    Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

  4. Warm-up questions:

    Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?

  5. To the point questions:

    “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  ~Mark 8:29

  6. Questions that reminded them of what they already knew:

    Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” ~Mark 12:10-11

  7. My favorite question:

    “What do you think?” ~Matthew 18:12

  8. Questions that allowed people to voice their own needs:

     “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.  ~Matthew 20:29-34

  9. He answered questions with questions:

     “And who gave you authority to do this?” Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”  Mark 11:27-33

  10. Questions that asked his listeners to tell the point of a parable:

    “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”  ~Luke 10:36-37

  11. Questions that asked people to consider the cost:

    “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?    ~Luke 14:28-32

  12. Questions that called forth commitment:

    From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked  ~John 6:66-68

And so on…


Two more questions…

  • Did you ever think about the questions Jesus asked?
  • Do any of Jesus’ questions bother you?

If this reflection intrigued you Bob Tiede invites you to download “339 Questions Jesus Asked” for free.


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2 Comments

  1. Thomas McKenna

    Thanks, John. Very evokative….

  2. Sister Jane Burger, D. C

    Thank you, Fr. John, for such a creative way, a unique perspective in contemplating Jesus. Just excellent. Very thought provoking. It is truly moving…..challenging….right into one’s face or one’s inners!! Motivates me to re-reflect your message!

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