Did you ever sit in class and become nervous when a teacher asked you a question you didn’t know how to answer? Teachers know there is an art and science to asking purposeful questions. Closed questions require a “yes” or “no” answer or a factual reply. Open questions require more content in the explanation. Asking closed questions is only the starting place for helping a student think more deeply.
As we learn from the Great Teacher, we should understand the art of asking purposeful questions. Good questions help us get to know a person and can open the door to faith conversations. God set an example with the first question He asked Adam in Genesis 3:9: “Where are you?” God gave Adam a closed question. He knew exactly where Adam was...both his literal location in the Garden and his figurative location—where Adam was in relationship to Him. So why did God ask the question? To reveal truth. Often God asks questions to get people to examine their motives and actions.
In Matthew 16 Jesus asked His disciples a closed question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” He then immediately followed this question by asking Peter an open question, “But what about you? . . . Who do you say I am?” Christ’s question was aimed at Peter’s heart by asking for his personal declaration of faith. Peter gives not just one answer but two (v. 16), clarifying his answer to Jesus with more explanation. Jesus’ question to His disciples was intended to engage them in a spiritual conversation, to help them understand His identity. Because we desire to serve others, we must be prayerfully willing to ask loving but sometimes tough questions.
>> As you read Matthew 16, ask yourself, what is God’s intention with each question? Consider the conversations you might have today. How might God use you as His servant leader to ask important and needed questions that will lead others to know and follow Jesus Christ?
Imagine yourself in Peter’s sandals, facing Jesus’ question in today’s reading: “Who do you say I am?” As you pray, tell the Lord who He is in your life and thank Him for your salvation.