1 It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. 2 And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” Luke 14:1–3 (NAS)
When we sense Jesus is asking us a question, whether we hear him in our head or read scripture that poses one, the best answer may be to not respond at all as did the lawyers and Pharisees in this case.
The dreaded question of “Do you love me?” can’t be answered in my mind without equivocation. Such a question caused Peter significant distress. (See the familiar story in John 21:15-17) It led to determining the manner in which he loved him, with agape (sacrificial) or phileo (brotherly) love.
The turning point in my life some 45 years ago was not on a question but a declarative statement made in my head by Jesus himself as I sat with Bible in hand in a chair as I am now. “You don’t love me,” he said. If he had asked it in the form of a question, the answer would have definitely been “no” in terms of agape love. At least he spared me from self incrimination. My only response was to resolve to go forward knowing he could have taken me out in that very state at that moment.
Perhaps it’s much better to have the Lord speak directly and spare us the inquisition. Perhaps that he speaks directly is a sign that we are his—I hope so— and he’s cutting to the chase.
Some would question if the Lord speaks audibly–he didn’t in this case. But the message was loud and clear and it came out of nowhere. All I know is that from that point on I was a changed person. And to this day I remember the encounter as it happened yesterday and am thankful this morning he has nothing directly to say and his focus is on a proud gathering of Pharisees.
Now back to our text…