We are looking at some of the questions Jesus himself asked.
a. This week’s question: What do you think?
b. I didn’t do much thinking until I got to college. Lots of daydreaming, but not much thinking. Just ask my parents.
i. I took a philosophy course and really loved it, and was excited about all the new things I was thinking.
ii. I remember learning something called the Hegelian Dialectic, which starts
with a thesis, or a statement about what is known. Then you think of its antithesis, or what’s completely opposite from the thesis. Finally, weighing the thesis and the antithesis against each other and thinking things through, you come up with the synthesis, or new statement about what is known.
c. I thought that was pretty cool. The premise is that the mind is always stretching
for new thoughts, and it does so by asking questions, having a debate, exchanging two older ideas for one new one.
i. There’s a problem, though. Anxiety arises because what’s true might get cast aside because it’s not as attractive or appealing as what’s not true.
ii. And, on the other hand, it’s hard to change your mind if it needs to be changed.
d. So in the midst of a conversation, a debate really, with some folks who aren’t too sure they like what he’s been saying, Jesus asks a question.
i. The Greek word “Think” – means to suppose, or to form a personal opinion – as opposed to factual thinking.
ii. The word “De” is often untranslated because it’s a fairly weak pronoun.
1. But in this case it’s important because it is often translated “but” or “on
the other hand” – it allows for opposition – for antithesis to face off against the thesis.
iii. With this hidden word, Jesus shows that he is asking for dialogue, for conversation and debate.
1. He really wants to know what you think, even if you think it might be “wrong” or
2. If you believe you’re created then your mind is part of the package. It was meant to be part of who you are
a. The Jewish concept was that the functions of the brain, heart and gut weren’t separate, but unified. Reason, emotions and soul-longings were inseparable.
i. Read Matthew 22:37. So Jesus said the greatest commandment was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
ii. Read 1Corinthians 14:15. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.”
3. So first, what you think is meant to connect you to God.
a. The Prophet Isaiah said, You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
b. Blaise Pascal wrote that reason without faith has no wonder or supernatural purpose; faith without reason is absurd. What’s key is submitting the use of your reason to God.
c. Pope Francis has said, “You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.”
d. To use your mind is to exchange self-centered thinking for God-centered thinking.
4. Second, what you think is meant to make things better, more understandable, and ultimately to transform you and heal you of your brokenness, your ignorance, your foolishness and prejudice
a. Jesus is asking this question of
his opponents – to challenge their assumption that they had all the right answers and didn’t need to know anything else.
b. Robert Laidlaw said, “The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.”
i. In short, if you start thinking about God, then God’s going to start messing with you; changing you.
c. Read Romans 12:2. Paul wrote “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
d. To use your mind is to exchange prideful thinking for humbled, teachable thinking.
5. Third, what you think is meant to become what you do for the sake of God and others. You use your mind to seek God, be transformed by God’s will, and then do God’s will.
a. Bible scholar Dale Bruner wrote, “Everything depends on really doing the Father’s will. How well we think or talk about God’s will is sometimes immaterial and may even brainwash us into believing that thinking or talking well enough may be a form of doing.”
b. Author Eric Metaxis puts it this way: “Truth without love and grace isn’t really truth. Love and truth are supposed to be two parts of the same thing. The love of God is full of truth. And the truth of God if full of love.”
c. To use your mind is to exchange pointless thinking with purposeful, missional thinking.
6. Finally, it isn’t meant to be done alone. Jesus asks “What do you think?” and he uses the Plural “YOU.” And it’s not just because he’s talking to more than one person in this story.
a. He asks this question of us, of the whole church, of the world.
b. To use your mind is to exchange all the inner conversation for actual conversations. Lots of conversations with God, with other followers of Jesus, with people outside the church.
c. For Jesus Followers who say they want to be more like Jesus, to actually practice what he is doing here: Ask and listen “What do YOU think?”
7. Jesus pauses and looks at you, and asks “What do you think?”
a. What is it you need to be thinking about?