Conrad Gempf begins his book, Jesus Asked, by pointing out how often Jesus asked questions. The remainder of the book focuses on the reasons why he asked questions when he could have taken more of a lecture approach and simply imparted spiritual information.

While I enjoyed Gempf’s opinions and sense of humour, I didn’t find the book well set out. Consequently, there were times when he seemed to jump around and repeat himself. However, the value of his insights outweighed this negative.

These three thoughts have stayed with me:
1. Gempf examines the difficult passage in Mark 4:11-12 where Jesus explains the purpose of parables by quoting Isaiah. Jesus tells the disciples, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

‘They may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

Gempf feels, “the secret of the kingdom” is better understood as a mystery where God has left clues that need searching out, rather than a secret that you can’t find out. Therefore parables are meant to make us think and provoke us toward a decision of whether we will accept his teaching and follow him or not.

2. When the disciples woke Jesus with the words, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). He rebuked them by saying, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (verse 40). Jesus didn’t expect them to still the storm. He didn’t expect that they would leave him sleeping. However, he did expect that they would know he cared. Accusing Jesus of not caring is a serious lack of faith.

3. Children ask why, not because they expect to understand the answer, but because they are seeking a connection with their parents or caregivers. Asking questions is an effective way of gaining someone’s attention.

As I thought about these insights and others, I came away with a slightly different view of Jesus and what he was aiming to do when he was engaged in conversation. He wasn’t looking to impart head knowledge but rather to engage the hearts of his listeners.

Overall, a beneficial read.

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