During Christ’s time teaching here on earth, He used questions to communicate salvation to the world. But even though the questions were originally directed to the disciples over 2,000 years ago, Christ’s questions are also the start of conversations He wants to have with us today.
In his book, Answering the Questions of Jesus, Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR examines the questions Christ asked in the Gospels. By examining Christ’s own words, Father Apostoli invites readers to understand who Christ is and what Christ is asking of Christians today.
1. Will you also go away?
In John 6, Christ tells his followers “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” After this bread of life discourse, many of His followers left Him. Christ then asks what Father Apostoli says is one of the saddest questions He asks in the Gospels – “Will you also go away?” (John 6:67).
Father Apostoli says, “Jesus is telling His Apostles that if they can’t handle His teaching on the Eucharist, then they should walk away as well. That’s now insistent He is on this teaching. And that’s why we say in the Church that the Eucharist is the source and center of the Christian life.”
If Christ had turned to you and asked “Will you also go away,” how would you have responded? Do you trust Christ even when you struggle to understand teachings?
2. Could you not watch with me one hour?
Christ asked this question to Peter, James and John in the garden of Gethsemane at the start of His passion. “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, you could not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak'” (Matthew 26: 36 – 41).
Father Apostoli says this question is the most devastating of all the questions Christ asks in the Gospels. He writes, “I always feel that when I’ve given time to the Lord, things in my day seem to go better. There are always trials, of course; Our Lord never said there wouldn’t be. But through prayer we will be spared from some trials we never even noticed.”
Do you make time with the Lord everyday in prayer, or do you make excuses? What things distract you from your time of prayer with Our Lord?
3. But who do you say that I am?
When Christ asked this question to His Apostles, he didn’t want to know what others were saying about His mission. He wanted to know what the Apostles believed about who Christ truly was.
Father Apostoli says that even though the question was directed to the Apostles, modern day Christians must also answer who Christ truly is to us. He writes, “Is Jesus number one in your life? If He’s not, you may have to reshuffle your priorities, because if Jesus isn’t number one, everything is out of order. But if Jesus is number one, everything will follow from that, because every other love we have flows first form the love of the Lord.”
Do you have a personal relationship with Christ? Or are you afraid of what Christ may ask of you if you get too close to Him in your relationship?
4. Why are you afraid, have you no faith?
During a heavy storm, the Apostles shook Christ awake and begged Him to calm the storm. “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?’ And they were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?'” (Mark 4: 40-41).
Father Apostoli talks about the faith necessary for a life with Christ. He writes, “When we travel with Jesus, we’ve got to be ready for anything. It’s not always a smooth ride. We get a lot of turbulence along the way. Sometimes we wonder, ‘Is He asleep when I call out for help?'”
What fears and anxieties do you have that you can place at the feet of Christ? How can you work with Christ to bring about the change you want to see in your life?
5. Do you love me?
Father Apostoli says that this question Christ asks is the most beautiful of questions. This is the question that all Christians must answer.
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs'” (John 21:15).
Christ accepts Peter’s love and He accepts our human love, too. Father Apostoli writes, “Even when we may not have the most beautiful, total, self-sacrificing, heroic love for Him, He accepts the love that we can give Him.”
How do you demonstrate your love for God and neighbor in every day life? What service opportunities can you seek out in your community to glorify God and spread His word?
Want to know the answers to other questions Christ asked of both his Apostles and modern day Christians? Check out Father Apostoli’s new book today!