Another biblical exercise: here I’m gathering together in one place just those passages in which Jesus asks a question. Warning: Of necessity, this means taking these verses out of their context. If any of these questions here listed seem surprising or confusing, the reader is urged to look at it in context, in your favorite version. I’m going to do this for all four gospels, and then eventually go to another series, namely, Questions Jesus Answered, and perhaps yet another, Questions Jesus Never Answered. Let’s get started (quotations from the NRSV, words of Jesus in red, emphasis added to highlight just the questions.)
From The Gospel According to Matthew:
Matthew 5:13: You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?
Matthew 5:46: For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matthew 5:47: And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Matthew 6:25b: Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:27: And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
Matthew 6:28: And why do you worry about clothing?
Matthew 6:30: But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Matthew 7:3: Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
Matthew 7:4: Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” while the log is in you own eye?
Matthew 7:9: Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?
Matthew 7:10: Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake?
Matthew 7:11: If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?
Matthew 7:16b: Are grapes gathered from thorns, of figs from thistles?
Matthew 8:26: And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Matthew 9:4: But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil thoughts in your hearts?”
Matthew 9:5: “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?”
Matthew 9:15: And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?”
Matthew 9:28a: When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
Matthew 10:29: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 11:7-9: As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Matthew 11:16: But to what will I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
Matthew 11:23a: And you, Ca·per´na·um, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
Matthew 12:3: He said to them, ”Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
Matthew 12:5: Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless?
Matthew 12:11: He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out?”
Matthew 12:26-27: If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Bē·el´ze·bul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Matthew 12:29: Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered.
Matthew 12:34: You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:48: But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
Matthew 13:51: “Have you understood all this?” they answered, “Yes.”
Matthew 14:31: Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 15:3: He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Matthew 15:16: Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding?”
Matthew 15:34: Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, Seven, and a few small fish.“
Matthew 16:8-11: And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, ”You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pha´ri·sees and Sad´dū·cees!“
Matthew 16:13: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caes·a·rē´a Phi·llip´pī, he asked his disciples, ”Who do people say that the Son of Man is?“
Matthew 16:15: He said to them, ”But who do you say that I am?“
Matthew 16:26: For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
Matthew 17:17: Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.”
Matthew 17:25: He [Peter] said, “Yes, he does.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?“
Matthew 18:12: What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
Matthew 19:4: He answered, ”Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?“
Matthew 19:17: And he said to him, ”Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.“
Matthew 20:21a: And he said to her, ”What do you want?“
Matthew 20:22a: But Jesus answered, ”You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?“
Matthew 20:32: Jesus stood still and called them, saying, ”What do you want me to do for you?“
Matthew 21:16b: Jesus said to them, ”Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?“
Matthew 21:25a: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?
Matthew 21:-31a: What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?
Matthew 21:40: Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?
Matthew 21:42: Jesus said to them, ”Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Matthew 22:18: But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?”
Matthew 22:20: Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?”
Matthew 22:31-32: And as for the resurrection of the dead,have you not read what was said to you by God, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob“? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.
Matthew 22:42-45: ”What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?“ They said to him, ”The son of David.“ He said to them, ”How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ”Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet: ‘? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?“
Matthew 23:19: How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
Matthew 23:33: You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?
Matthew 24:2: Then he asked them, ”You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.“
Matthew 26:10: But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ”Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me.“
Matthew 26:40: Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ”So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?“
Matthew 26:45: Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ”Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.“
Matthew 26:53-54: Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?
Matthew 26:55: At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.”
Matthew 27:46: And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Ē´lī, Ē´lī, le·ma´ sa·bach´tha·nī?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”