Luke 5:33-34 (see Matthew 9:15 – Question #11) – They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” NIV
The people asking Jesus questions were “the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.” This question to Jesus follows some conversation with Jesus’ disciples after he went in to Levi (or Matthew) the tax collector’s house to socialize with some of Matthew’s friends. This was Matthew’s retirement party. Jesus had invited Levi (Matthew) to follow Him, and he did! It was a time for celebrating and sharing Matthew’s story and Jesus’ invitation. But some people weren’t happy about the situation. Continue reading
Mark 9:23-24 – “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” NIV
Jesus is still dealing the boy who is demon possessed and his father. The father has just answered Jesus’ previous question as to how long the boy has been this way, and he adds, “…But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22 – NIV) This remark elicits Jesus’ rhetorical question and following statement.
Jesus was asserting that He certainly could, but seeking to know if the father believed that He could heal his son. The father’s reply is a reply that many followers of Jesus have uttered over the years. In theory we believe that Jesus is capable of anything, but we sometimes doubt if He is able to work in our specific situation. Continue reading
Matthew 26:45 – Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.“ NIV
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane praying, and He has asked Peter, James, and John to watch and pray with Him. They fell asleep during the first round of prayer, and He woke them up hoping that they would join Him in prayer. When He came back a second time and found them sleeping, He didn’t even bother to try and wake them. Jesus now comes back for a third time, wakes them and asks, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” Then He adds, “Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
When He asked this question, His death was imminent. Judas was arriving with the Temple guards that were going to arrest Jesus. Today, He may ask that same question to His followers because His return is imminent, and many are doing little to gather in the harvest before He returns. We talk about reaching out. It is in our congregational purpose statements, but how much prayer and effort actually goes into sharing the love of Jesus with people who have not yet decided to follow Him? Continue reading
Matthew 26:40-41 – Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” NIV
The setting for this question is the Garden of Gethsemane. It was the night before Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. He pulls aside His three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, and it is obvious that Jesus is sorrowful and troubled. He even admits that to these three that He is “sorrowful to the point of death” and asks them to “stay here and keep watch.”
He goes off by Himself to pray; and when he returns, he finds them sleeping. This is when Jesus asks the above question. He even admonishes them to pray for themselves because the temptations will be great. Even though their spirits want to follow Jesus, they are, also, suffering from a lack of emotional and physical energy. Continue reading
Matthew 20:29-33 – As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” NIV
The two blind men on the road outside of Jericho shouted and got Jesus’ attention. They asked Jesus, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Their shout seemed to recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah.
Then Jesus asked them directly, “What do you want me to do for you?” There wasn’t any doubted in their minds about what they wanted. They wanted to see! They had a need that was obvious. Continue reading
Matthew 20:20-21 – Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” NIV
Salome (who quite possibly was the sister of Jesus’ mother, Mary) came to Jesus and asked Him for a favor. It’s interesting that she is the one doing the asking. Could it be that “the sons of thunder” were asking their mother to seek this favor from Jesus? Mark’s Gospel (10:35) has the brothers asking Jesus themselves. Or is this just a mother wanting the best for her sons? I tend to think that it was a little of both because the brothers were with their mother and responded to Jesus’ follow-up question. Continue reading