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Panorama: 1st December 2006
 

 

Jesus the Inter-rogator

 

 

Jay Longacre

 

 

(continuation from Asvattha, Panorama: 10th June 2006 of the series JESUS’ QUESTIONS: Challenging Me to Discover Life’s Great Answers)

Introduction

Jesus is the Inter-rogator – One who asks questions.  He asked 307 questions outside parables.  Jesus is like:

-A Zen master, offering unanswerable koans pointing to truth of reality

-Socrates, teaching crowds by asking questions

-Prophets, railing against authorities with questions begging for justice, conversion, and peace.

Jesus’ questions await my answers.  After Resurrection, Jesus asks Peter: “DO YOU LOVE ME?”  Jesus always asks questions in spirit of love and truth, to soften hard hearts, and open narrow minds to meaning of life and mystery of God.  Jesus wants me to discover for myself truth about God and him.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?”  God is eager to serve rather than be served.  I must try to be loving to Jesus and to live the questions.

I. INVITATION – WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? (Jn 1: 38).  Jesus ignores sins, failures, and infidelity.  He is not hostile, but rooted in compassion and love, calling upon profound desires, the best within us.  Full of hope!  Jesus draws out his followers, has them articulate hopes and dreams, listens, and shows them loving kindness.

WHAT DO WE WANT? Truly desire?  Not money, power, fame, or control, but rather love, goodness, truth, peace, happiness, justice, mercy, and joy.  I seek meaning, God, and Jesus!

Pray to God for what I am seeking.  Tibetan Buddhist monks recognized importance of knowing what a person is seeking.  Dharma is based on understanding that spiritual life begins by naming what a person truly wants.

My desires are powerful.  For example, the greatest power on earth is the power of a man to be loving to a woman, and the woman, in return, to be loving to the man.  By naming my desires, I unleash their power and goodness; channeling desires toward God transforms my life.  By beginning a journey into the mystery and peace of God, I become God’s servant and friend.

If I:

(1)   Listen to Jesus’ question,

(2)   Name the pure, selfless, loving desires buried in my heart,

(3)   Tell Jesus for what I am looking,

he will lead me into a new life in which I shall realize those desires.

WHY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR ME? (Lk 2: 49).  When Jesus was 12, he went to Jerusalem with his parents.  After three days, his parents found him in the Temple listening and asking questions.  Jesus asks Mary and Joseph:  “Why are you looking for me?”

Each person has different answer to why he is seeking Jesus:

                        -Jesus is the most authentic person, both human and divine

                        -We feel compassion for him

-In his humility, suffering, forgiveness, and death, we see pure selfless love

-He is alive

-Resurrection is true

-He will help us through our brokenness and global catastrophes

-We hunger and thirst for God

-He embodies God

Finally, I seek Jesus because I love and need him, and want to be with him.

WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU? (Mt 20: 32; Mk 10: 36; 10: 51; Lk 8: 41).  This is the most frequently asked question.  In Mt 20: 32, Mother of James and John approaches Jesus.  In Mk 10: 35, James and John want Jesus to do whatever they ask of him.  Their selfishness does not faze Jesus.  They want to control, dominate, to be God.  Jesus responds: the position is not mine to give.

A blind beggar, Bartimaeus, asks Jesus to have pity on him.  “What do you want me to do for you?”  “I want to see!”  Lk 18: 41 presents almost the same story.

Blind beggar wins over Jesus and obtains what he wants; demonstrates proper disposition before Christ and his question.  I, too, am a poor, blind beggar who needs to come before God in my brokenness, helplessness, blindness, and poverty.  I call out to Christ to take pity on me.  If I renounce my ego and selfishness and beg for God’s help, I too will hear God ask, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The question indicates God’s desire to help me and also reveals God’s nature.

Like all of Jesus’ questions, this one requires reflection, not a hasty response.  Do I want to sit next to God in heaven to dominate others?  Do I consider eternal life my rightful inheritance?  Or do I recognize my poverty, brokenness, helplessness, and blindness – my need for God, for vision – and want to see again, to see God face to face.  If I come before God, as did Bartimaeus, Christ will restore my vision and I too shall see God.

   
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