The suave well-dressed lawyer approached the shabby older defendant very confident that with one question he would wrap up the domestic abuse case.  “Sir,” he said, “Are you still beating your wife?  Answer yes or no.”  The defendant looked the lawyer straight in eyes and said, “I have a yes or no question for you first.  Are you still telling those blatant lies?  Yes or no!”  The judge would probably ask the jury to disregard both of the questions, but for a brief moment surely a feeling of poetic justice must have caused several smiles and maybe even chuckles.

Jesus was certainly attacked consistently by the lawyers, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees with unfair and hateful questions in an attempt to trap Him with His own words.  “Tell us then, is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” “Who is my neighbor?” “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  “Asking if He would show a sign from heaven.”  “Moses commanded us to stone the woman caught in adultery, what do you say?” Jesus often answered such questions with a parable, and at other times He would turn the question back on them.  “…give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mt 22:21k) “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jo 8:7)  Jesus once used a question similar to the defendant above.  “John’s baptism, —where did it come from?  Was it from heaven or from men?” (Mt 21:25)  The cowardly chief priests and elders refused to answer, knowing they had been wrong. (Mt 21:24)

Since Jesus is the co-creator of all things, (Col 1:15-17) He knew their evil intentions before they said a word.  Unfortunately, it was not only the Jewish leaders who asked foolish and deceptive questions.  His own Apostles asked Him, “…Who is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” (*Mt 18:1K)  After Peter had been told to feed the Lord’s sheep, he turned to John and asked, “Lord what about him?” (Jo 21:2)

 The rich people in the Lord’s church sometimes discriminated against the poor workers (Jas 5:1-6) (1 Cor 11:17-22).  They were probably asking, “Don’t I have the right to spend my own money the way I want?”  Of course there are many, many other foolish and deceptive questions in the Bible
(Gen 4:9).  They are often used to deflect or hide one’s real intentions. Jesus allows us to ask Him questions if our motives are pure, even ones with why in them.

-Jim Bailey