Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. (John 6:5-6)
Read: 2 Samuel 15:1 – 17:14
Relate: Jesus turned to Philip and asked, “Where can we buy bread?” John’s very next statement feels to me a little obvious. I mean, seriously, duh, of course Jesus knew what He was going to do. Jesus is God. Thank you, Captain Obvious for the commentary.
Then I started to think about it. Throughout the Bible, God is full of questions. Did you know that the longest string of questions in the Bible are a series of questions God directs at Job? For over thirty chapters Job was going through hardship and suffering beyond what we can imagine. Over and over He demands an intercessor, a judge who will see and try his case. Finally, God shows up and asks Job question after question. Job responds, “I’ve said too much already. I’ll shut up now.” But God isn’t done. For two more chapters He launches question after question at Job. Ultimately Job responds, “I have only heard before but now I have seen with my eyes. I take back everything I’ve said and sit in repentance.” Job demanded justice from God but when God showed up Job recognized how unqualified he was to make that demand. He realized little he truly knew.
The first question God asks in the Bible is directed at a sinful Adam and Eve. They had run from Him in fear and God asked, “Where are you?” He already knew the answer, He just wanted them to search themselves that they might realize the depth of what they had done. That is always the way when an omniscient God begins asking questions. When He asks Hagar, “Where are you going?” He is causing her to search out the consequences of her running away. He asks Elijah “What are you doing here” to help him get perspective. Elijah just had a powerful, divine confrontation with the prophets of Baal, but then he had turned tail and run from some vague threats. Jesus asked the crowd, “Who touched me?” His question served to bring to the light the healing that had just taken place. The woman with the issue had lived in obscurity long enough. She needed not just a physical healing but also a restoration of her respect and dignity. Jesus asks Philip, “How can we feed these people?” He knows what is coming. He just wants Philip and the other disciples to be fully aware of it as well. A miracle is about to happen. His Lordship is about to be demonstrated.
React: So what questions is Jesus asking me today? Is He asking, “Where are you?” The question forces me to look at my past. What has brought me to the place I am today. Do I realize the influences I have had on my life? Am I aware of how profoundly the choices I’ve made have impacted my life? What has brought me to this moment in time?
Is he asking, “Where are you going?” The question forces me to look at my future. John Maxwell has said that the way to change your future is to change your daily habits. What direction are the things I am doing day in and day out leading me? What has to go for me to realize the future I long to see? Do I even have a vision for my future?
Is He asking “What are you doing here?” Am I aware of the present? Am I living in the current moment or do I just wander through my life aimlessly? Why am I doing the things that I do? What am I doing? The questions God asks are there to test us. They force us to look deeply into ourselves. Are we willing to listen? Do we have the courage to search deeply and answer honestly? After all, He already knows the answers. Are we willing to find them out?
God, I am here. I am listening. What questions would You ask that I might know You and understand myself better? Give me the courage to hear and to answer.