Matthew 13:51 – “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied. NIV
No one wants to look stupid! The temptation to answer “Yes” to Jesus’ question even if one doesn’t understand is great! Some of us have been led to believe the lie that asking questions means we’re stupid! It may show that we don’t totally grasp all the details of something or even that we’re clueless; but it doesn’t mean that we are stupid…just uninformed. The best way to be informed is to ask questions.
I began to learn this lesson in high school. I went to a fairly large high school in Scottsdale, Arizona with over 500 in our class. Over the years, I had several classes with Marilyn who would eventually be the class valedictorian. There would be times when our teachers would ask, “Do you understand?” Most of us would nod our heads or answer in the affirmative because we were just glad to finish the lesson. However, Marilyn usually raised her hand and asked a question. Sometimes I knew the answer and sometimes I did not. Marilyn had the courage to ask the questions that many of us were afraid to ask… because she wanted to learn whatever the subject was. Marilyn taught me that one who ask questions was not stupid but actually a learner.
What is the context of Jesus’ question and the disciples’ response in Matthew 13? Were they giving Him a truthful answer? Jesus had been teaching the crowds with parables or stories about the Kingdom of Heaven all day as He often did. These parables were often open to interpretation depending on one’s point of view. At the end of the day, when Jesus dismissed the crowd and went in to the house with His disciples, they asked, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” (Matt. 13:36 –NIV). It is after His explanation that He asked the above question; so these first Christ-followers seem to be learning that it’s alright to ask questions and for explanations from God and to seek out the answers.
How often do I seek to know the mind of God better? How often do I try to understand the passages that I read in the Bible? How often do I ask for discernment to better understand a situation? Probably not enough! However, I am learning that those who wanted to grow closer to God and Jesus often asked for answers to tough situations. I am learning to trust in these words of James …
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 – NIV) God wants us to ask because we are more receptive to learning what He wants to teach us.