Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Questions and answers

I have just been writing my entry for the FW weekly challenge. I have gone up a level in the competition - up to Level 4 called "Masters". It sounds entirely like a golf or snooker tournament to me.

The topic was "Fulfilment" and I had a number of ideas creeping around my head before I settled on something completely different.

The article was based on John the Baptist's question sent via his disciples to Jesus - "Are you the one who was to come, or should we wait for someone else?" It put me in mind of other great questions in the Bible - and why the answer matters. In no particular order:-

God's question to Adam - "Where are you?" To think that we can hide from God, or to think that there is ever a time when God doesn't know exactly where we are is to make a big mistake! I am sure that Adam didn't really know at all where he was - in the time it took to bite an apple the scenery and landscape changed. Everything familiar faded as fear swept in.

God's question to Cain - "Where is your brother Abel?" It is bad enough working out where we are in life - but God also expects us to know where other people are too! We don't get asked the whereabouts of strangers - but family is a different matter. God expects me to know where they are. He has made me accountable for aspects of their life and their walk with Jesus.

Jesus' question to a blind man - "What do you want me to do for you?" Sometimes you think it is kind of obvious what people want - but people are complicated. Jesus takes his cue from the blind man, knowing perfectly well how much he can transform the man's life in so many ways. Maybe the question would be better phrased - "What will you allow me to do for you?" Hmm...

Jesus' question to Simon Peter - "Do you love me?" Somewhere Jesus talks about a man who says that he did miracles in Jesus name, and that he cast out demons in Jesus name. Jesus went on to call that man a stranger who he did not know. It is not what we do that counts - or what we can't do that counts against us. It is why we do what we do - what motivates us should be our love for Jesus.

Jesus' question to God - "Why have you forsaken me?" Jesus spent his whole knowing the presence of God. There had not been one single moment up until then when Jesus did not experience God's intimacy. Jesus must have experienced something similar to Adam in that the relationship with God that he known all his life was no longer there. We know what it is like not to live our lives in God's presence, and sometimes we allow that intimacy to slip away. Because of Jesus, I can be sure of God's promise that he will never leave me, or abandon me.

King Xerxes to Queen Esther - "What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you." I have been reading the book of Esther over the last week or so. My imagination was captured by the idea of Esther clothed in royal robes, standing in at the entrance to the King's palace. As he extends the sceptre to her, he invites her into his presence. I am reminded that I too am clothed in royal robes, and that I have access into the throne room of my King, to make known the things on my heart.

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