We are starting a new series this week on Questions.
a. I was thinking that there are basically two types:
i. There are questions you ask but you really don’t need an answer because you know it already.
1. The British are really good at this, I’ve noticed: “It’s a lovely day today, don’t you think?” It’s not really the proper thing to do, is it?” “We’re in a bloody fix, aren’t we?”
2. Or when a frustrated parents asks a child, “What do you think you’re doing?” “Will you stop doing that?”
ii. There are questions you really want to listen to an answer because you need to add more to what you know.
1. When a student asks a teacher, “How can I solve this problem?
2. When someone is concerned or cares for you, “Are you alright?”
b. So this verse is Jesus asking a question. Is he really wanting to hear an answer or not?
2. My working theory for this question, and for this whole series, is that it’s both.
a. When I was in college I had this favorite professor. Sometimes I would sit in his office for an hour or two and we would just talk about life.
i. He would ask me questions I know he already knew the answers to, and I know he was asking carefully selected questions which would guide me toward the right answer.
ii. But instead of just telling me the right answer he let me talk, listened attentively, asked more questions and encouraged me to keep digging, keep thinking.
iii. When I finally got there, he said “Yes! That is really insightful. Good for you.”
b. I think Jesus asks all these questions because he represents the heart of God towards us.
i. God knows all the answers, and God wants me to arrive at the conclusions which will lead me to life as he created me to live it.
ii. But God also wants a loving, mutual relationship with me so he is a listener, a
nurturer, and a guide.
iii. And the questions He asks are BIG, important questions. We need to know and live the answers, so they need to be our answers too.
3. Jesus asks, “Why are you anxious?”
a. Let me read some of the surrounding verses to give you some context. Read Matthew 5:1; 6:25, 28-30.
b. There are different ways to look at anxiety. What kind of anxiety do you think Jesus is talking about here?
i. I was reading that fishing was banned in some local rivers because the water was so warm they will die of stress fighting the hook. But this is just doing what they instinctively do – they aren’t thinking about it.
ii. Jesus’ definition of anxiety is based on a word meaning “fractured” or “split.” It means dividing the mind or getting distracted by overthinking.
iii. Francis Bacon once wrote a character who literally “died of thought.” That’s the anxiety Jesus is talking about.
iv. Have you ever worked yourself into a tizzy just be overthinking a problem?
c. The real question Jesus is asking is, “What are you basing your sense of well-being upon?”
4. Now, he knows the right answer. Perhaps he believes that instinctively we do too. Our well-being should be based on God and if it is, we won’t be nearly as anxious as we often are.
a. Why? Simply because God loves you very much and is actively caring for you all the time.
i. Like the rest of nature, your body was created to be able to maintain its own equilibrium in times of stress, but your sense of well-being should be more than as creatures who just rely on creation for well-being. You can know you’re especially loved and provided for.
ii. Read 1 Peter 5:6-7.
b. Jesus presents himself as tangible proof of this truth.
i. From John 14
c. Jesus’ work on the cross was to bind up that which has been separated, and restore your assurance of God’s absolute love and care. Jesus’ rising from the tomb was to demonstrate God’s full victory for you over any destructive force that will ever exist or threaten you.
i. What’s the scariest things you can think of? If you fully trust in God’s wisdom and love you will never be disappointed.
5. That’s God’s answer, I believe.
a. But now imagine that as Jesus was asking his friends gathered around him this question that there was a pause that the Gospel writer doesn’t record. A pause to listen.
b. And that actually that pause is also happening right now for you. Jesus is asking YOU the question and is now waiting to hear your answer.
c. I believe that is exactly what is happening.
i. If you are anxious today, why? Why am I so anxious? Use the handout to give God your honest answer.
ii. See if a conversation begins in your soul.
iii. It may be that Jesus’ question leads to another one – one you have. Like “I
trust in God but why are there things which seem like legitimate things to be concerned about?” “How do I deal with other people’s anxiety?” Write that down too.
d. My goal for this series is not to give you God’s answers. But to get you talking to God.
i. He is asking and listening, drawing you deeper in.