There Are More Questions Than Answer
A writer once narrated a funny experience he had in his neighbourhood. It was a neighbourhood that houses all forms of people, ranging from the most fervent zealots to the stark unbelievers. The zealots made their present felt all over the community with their hand-painted advertisement for God such as: "Jesus is coming soon, are you prepared?" Or "Prepare to meet your God, time is running out." On one of the hand-painted advertisement phrase: “Jesus is the answer,” someone had scrawled under it, “So, what is the question?”
This statement or question appears comical but it moves us to contemplate the questions that Jesus answers. It moves us to contemplate the scope of the questions, the nature of the questions he answers, and the degree to which they are answered.
There was a television commercial I loved while growing up. It was a commercial of a beer. I really did not pay attention to the commercial at first but it caught my attention because it was frequently played. This frequency was due to the fact that the beer sponsored the reality show I was watching. It was a show that showcased resilience, strength and adaptation of which the ultimate winner goes home with a huge prize money. So, because of the frequency at which the commercial was aired I got attached to the words.
The beginning of the commercial starts with various display of the beer, both in the bottle and in a glass cup; with a man gulping a glass of beer and then smiling with delight. In a rhetorical question form the narrator asks: "Why is this beer called the Ultimate?" He then takes a pause and continues with answers to his question. "Is it because it is made of premium barley? Or because it is made from the finest of hops? Or brewed with the purest of waters? Maybe because it is extra matured and brewed by the finest brew masters." The narrator after a brief silence says: "There are more answers than question." He concludes with: "The ultimate beer."
This is such a brilliant way to show that the beer does not just have a criterion but criteria for asserting it as the best beer, such that in every aspect of its production, perfection is attached to it. For me, the concluding statement: “There are more answers than question” was the catch phrase. A question always does have an answer and sometimes answers like in the case of the beer. If we reverse the phrase, it will be: “There are more questions than answer." Is this case possible? Is it possible to have just an answer to a plethora of questions?
Yes indeed it is possible, and I can tell you solemnly that there is an answer that attends to all questions. We know this answer but we are sometimes ignorant to relate to it. The comical response “so, what is the question” to the phrase “Jesus is the answer” should not be a hard test or question for us because Jesus is the answer to all the questions of our lives. There is no question beyond his reach. In Jesus, there are more questions than answer.
The Question of Life
Life is the most precious gift of God. It cannot be placed side by side with any other gift, it is in and from this gift that other gifts are made manifest in our lives. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the perfect answer to the question of life. He gave life to the dead man Lazarus (Jn 11:43) and returned Jairus’ daughter from death to life (Lk 8:54). Truly, he is the resurrection and the life, and he answers the question of life after death; for to whom shall we go to except to Jesus who has the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68).
The Question of Death
Death is one reality that we do not like to talk about. It is one experience that no one wish to encounter because it is a dreadful reality. However, Christ Jesus embraced death willingly for us all. "I lay down my life so as to take it up again; no one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own freewill" (Jn 10:17-18). Thus, the question of death can only be answered by Jesus who embraced death and overcame it. With Jesus we can gladly sing: "Death has been defeated and swallowed up by victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" (1Cor 15: 55).
The Question of Suffering
The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to understanding God. It is unquestionably true that there is no greater obstacle to faith than the reality of evil and suffering in the world. The experience of a world filled with evil and suffering challenges the goodness of God. The battering of evil and suffering and the damage it has effected on the world is seen in hunger, pains, persecutions, earthquakes, hurricanes, and pandemics. However, Christ gave himself as an example of suffering from his birth (Lk 2:6-7); in the flight to Egypt (Mt 2:14); his lowly dwelling in Nazareth (Mt 2:23); his daily living (Mt 8:20); and his suffering and death on the cross at Calvary. In all these, he came out victorious, thus Christ remains the answer to the question of suffering.
The Question of Human Needs
To live a good life, there are some basic things that are needed to make life bearable and comfortable. These are food, clothing, shelter, and money. Life will be miserable without these valuable resources. Experiences of suffering individuals, communities, peoples and nations stare at us in the face daily and it seems to increase with every passing day. Jesus is saying to us: I am the answer; do not worry about food, clothes and your needs for my Father knows you need it and he will provide it. All we just need to do is to approach God in prayer through Jesus the mediator (Mt 6:25-34).
The Question of the Spiritual
Man is a composite of both body and spirit. As we care for the physical, we are encouraged to seek the spiritual too. "For to be carnally minded is death and to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom 8:6). The spiritual however has its own difficulties and trials, such as: the problem of temptation, the daily struggle between light and darkness in our lives, the desire to please God and spiritual captivity. Jesus showed us the way to respond properly to temptation (Mt 4:1-11). He has made us to be light both to ourselves and the world (Mt 5: 14-15), he tells us that to accept God’s will is the will to please him (Jn 4:34); and he is capable of releasing us from all spiritual bondage (Mt 8: 28-34).
The Question of Human Frailty
How do we respond to human frailty? How do we respond to the questions of sicknesses and diseases, blindness, deafness and other deformities? What can we say regarding the question of tiredness and rest, of fear and of life threatening moments? Jesus has shown that he has power over sickness and diseases (Mt 8:2-3; 9:2-22), and all human deformities can be restored to wholeness (Mt 9:27-30; 9:1-7). When life’s troubles weigh us down, Christ is ready to lighten our burdens (Mt 11:28-30); and any time life surprises us with threatening circumstances beyond our control, we just have to beckon on Jesus and he will calm every troubled sea of our lives (Mt 8: 23-27).
The Question of Existence
Since we really did not request to come into existence we are moved to question the essence of our existence. Do I really matter to God? Does God care for me? Why doesn’t God act? Jesus answers us: Yes, we really do matter to God. Jesus tells us that God is so caring that he leaves the ninety-nine to search for the missing one (Mt 18:12-14) . Jesus cares so much for us, and everything that affect us affects him; and as such Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus (Jn 11:35). Why doesn’t God act? God does act, and he has acted by sending us his only begotten son to die for us; to be the answer to all our questions. Indeed he will act again when Jesus comes in glory to take us up to his heavenly kingdom prepared specially for us by him.
No matter the question that comes out from out life and existence, Jesus is the perfect answer to it. And so, we should daily proclaim to the world, to all who seek for answers to their questions, and to all who do not know this profound answer found in Jesus. We should continuously proclaim that Jesus is the answer.
- Now That We Are Well, Do We Still Need Him? Rereading the Story of the Ten Lepers.
The ten lepers in the gospel of Luke were beneficiaries of God’s gratuitous mercy, forgiveness and healing. Nine of them were ungrateful but one was grateful. Findings show that the ungrateful nine were overwhelmed by insensitivity, overtaken by self