"Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?"
Jesus loves hard questions. His strange and surprising way of life provokes questions. The Disciples questioned Jesus constantly (Mat. 17:19, 19:17; Mk. 4:10, 10:10; 13:3; Lk. 20:28). Jesus often taught through questions. Although rarely encouraged today, questioning is a profound spiritual practice available right where we are.
Some questioned Jesus with hostility (Lk. 11:53), intending to undermine him (Matt. 22:23-42). This never succeeded (Matt. 22:33, 46). Others questioned Jesus to draw closer to Him. I call this holy questioning. The “righteous” in this passage are perplexed. They want to move from ignorance to understanding, from nescience to knowledge of God which is eternal life (Jn. 17:3).
Were you really with us then?
To ask holy questions is to die to self. It requires vulnerability. Our questions reveal our heart. We admit our ignorance and lack of belief to embrace dependence on God’s self-revelation. We respond to Divine love with vital curiosity, cherishing Jesus in which all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Col. 2:3).
Where are you?
To ask holy questions is to seek God where we are right now. But seeking means that sometimes God is hidden (Job 23:8; Ps. 10: 1, 44: 23-24; Is. 45: 15). Jesus spoke of God’s kingdom—God ‘s activity in the world—as hidden, like a mustard seed (Matt.13:31), a leaven hid in flour (Matt. 13:33), and “a treasure hid in the field” (Matt. 13:44). God works in whispers and glimpses.
Will you be here tomorrow?
God provides empty spaces so we can become who we want to be, especially for those who want to become like Jesus. Holy questioning is a means of spiritual formation into the likeness of Jesus, where we see more of who we are in relation to who Jesus is. The space that God leaves empty invites our questioning as a way to bring ourselves to Jesus.
Lord, give us the grace to connect with you in our most profound questions, especially those too painful to speak.
Art: Julia Hendrickson | "Love" | Timelapse of watercolor and salt on paper | 33 seconds | 2020
Practice: Chapter & Verse
Experience Meshell Ndegeocello's "Chapter & Verse" (click here).