No Stupid Questions?
No Stupid Questions?
September 28 is Ask a Stupid Question Day. It is intended to encourage curious students to ask anything. In 2010, Parade Magazine writer Marilyn vos Savant asked if there is a such thing as a stupid question.. Based on these questions how do you think she responded?
Sometimes we say, "That's Greek to me," when we don't comprehend something. My question is: What do the Greeks say?
Why are they called stairs inside but steps outside?
Why is “phonics” not spelled the way it sounds?
We have all heard the expression, "Once in a blue moon." What other colors does the moon come in?
How do they fit all that hot air into blow dryers? Why don't they ever run out?
It appears to me that in the past hundred years, an overwhelming amount of progress has been made in the world. What did all those people do for the first two thousand years?
Why is it that I can find someone else's golf ball in the woods but never my own?
When I dream why don’t I need my glasses to see?
Why is it that all the fingers have a name (thumb, index, middle, ring and pinky), but for toes, it's only big toe, little toe? What are the other three called? PS:("Piggies" don't count.)
Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
How long do fish wait to swim after they eat?
Why do you have to “put your two cents in”. but it’s only a “penny for your thoughts”? Where’s that extra penny going to?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Can a ventriloquist have a conversation with his dentist while having work done?
Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?
Why is the word for “a fear of long words,” hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, so long?
If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
If the professor on Giligan’s Island can make a radio out of coconut, why can’t he fix a hole in a boat?
If you want answers you must ask questions. Did you realize that every problem solved in the history of man kind started with a question? Did you realize that your marriage started with a question? Does it make sense to you that he more profound questions you ask the more profound answers you will get? IBM founder Thomas J. Watson Said: The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.
Questions can shape your life. Questions give us a different perspective. Often we get fixated on our point of view and spend our time trying to convince others of our perspective and opinions. By asking questions and listening we uncover perspectives other than our own. Asking good questions allow us to see things otherwise hidden to us.
If you ask profound questions, you get profound answers; if you ask shallow questions, you get shallow answers; and if you ask no questions, you get no answers at all. Without good questions, you are left in the position of making unwise decisions because you haven’t thought things through for yourself. You’re just parroting other people’s thinking.
So this morning we will spend some time looking at Matthew chapter 16 and reflecting on questions.
Jesus was a master of asking profound questions. On many occasions Jesus asked life changing questions. Today in Matthew chapter 16 we find a not only a profound question. In Matthew 16; Jesus asks the most profound question of all time. So, if you have a Bible app on your phone, iPad, or paper bible; Lets open Matthew 16. We will also have it on the screen. Lets stand for the reading of God’s word.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
What questions does Jesus ask in this passage??
Who do people say that the Son of Man is?
who do you say that I am?
These are incredibly profound questions. In verse 13 Jesus poses the first question. Who do people SAY that I am. What’s the word on the street? The disciples came up with four answers that they would say to his face. John the baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or some prophet.
John the Baptist- some people believed that Jesus was John the Baptizer returned from the dead (perhaps sent by God to take vengeance on Herod Antipas, whom John had denounced for marrying the ex-wife of Herod Philip). The believed he was someone bringing judgement.
Elijah - Others believed that Jesus was the prophet Elijah, whom many Jews believed would return to introduce the Messiah.
Jeremiah - Still others thought of Jesus also as a kind of Jeremiah, a preacher of judgment and repentance who was widely rejected by the leaders of his nation.
Speaking of - The Pharisees and Sadducees wouldn’t have answered so nicely. They had their own ideas about how Jesus could benefit theme-selves. Ultimately they fall short of who Jesus is and has achieved.
No one, however, thought Jesus was the Messiah. He was a good man, or even a godly man, but people certainly not God Himself.
I think Jesus wasn’t actually concerned with what those “people” were saying. He was interested in how far the disciples had come.
Had walking with Jesus day by day made an difference in disciples life?
Jesus made the question personal and pointed it at the disciples. Jesus directly confronted them with a question in verse 15
Who do you say that I am?
Jesus asked a question that is perhaps the most important question the disciples were ever asked.
Who do you say that I am?
That is an important question. It was an important question for them and its an important question.
Who do you say that I am?
Who do you say that I am?
He is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. Not just a good man. He wasn’t a godly man.
He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed, the one to deliver us from captivity, he is the goal of the Mosaic law, Yahweh in the flesh, the one to establish God’s reign and rule, the one to heal the sick, Jesus gives sight to the blind, The one who brings freedom to the prisoners, hope to the hopeless, and proclaim good news to the poor, the lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world.
as Simon Peter says in verse 17 Jesus is “. . . the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Who do you say that Jesus is? a prophet? a good man?
If Jesus was asking you Who do YOU say that I am? would you have vocabulary sufficient to express an answer?
Who do you say that Jesus is? somebody you turn to when times are tough?
Who do you say that Jesus is?
Peter said he answered immediately You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God
Just a quickly Jesus responded Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven.
everyone else had missed the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, how did Peter come to this realization? Not by "flesh and blood," Jesus said (v. 17), for a true understanding of Christ comes not from human invention. Instead, a true understanding of Christ comes only from divine revelation. Jesus tells Peter that this insight has been revealed by Jesus' Father (v. 17).
Who do you say that I am?
Jesus is the storm calming - star creating -life bretheing miracle working perfect son of God who loved us enough to leave heaven and be born fully human and live a perfect life only to face the full wrath of God for all sin. He died a bloody painful death on a cruel cross. he was burried in a borrowed tomb. He defeated death and rose from the dead on the third day. He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God
We must never forget that the grace of God is the only way that anyone can behold the beauty of Christ. In and of ourselves, we are blind. We love the darkness (John 3:19). But God, in His mercy, has opened our eyes to see Jesus, to know who He is, to believe in Him, and to confess Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Who do you say that I am?
This profound question impacts everything even how we read the rest of the passage.
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,o and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
FYI: this is my favorite Bible Prophecy. Jesus Predicted us! Every time we gather with others to worship and study; we are a present day fulfillment of Jesus words two thousand years ago. So, Congratulations.
But I’m getting excited and possibly a little ahead of myself.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
So, let me ask you another question. Did you know that this is the first time the english word church shows up in our English New Testament? The church is mentioned in the context of a prediction. Jesus predicted that, NOthing, including death would stand in his way. AND the “cornerstone” of the church would be the statement Peter made about Jesus’s identity.
for millennia, before the invention of concrete builders would gather stones to make a foundation for a new building. They gathered limestone, marble or granite from a quarry and shaped it into block shaped bricks. Then the selected one particular stone and designated it the “cornerstone” - the reference stone for the placement of every other stone in the foundation. As the foundation took shape the builders made sure that were level, square and in place with the cornerstone.
Who do you say that I am?
the cornerstone for the foundation of this new entity called the church would be the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.
As Jesus predicted, Peter’s declaration is the common ground the cornerstone for everything to follow.
There is more that was communicated in this passage. Something that our english translation misses. The meaning of the term translated church.
As you may know the greek term translated church throughout the New testament is ekklesia. What you may not know is it was not a religious term. It could refer to citizens called to gather for civic reasons. It was often used for soldiers called to gather for military purposes. An Ekklesia was simply a gathering or an assembly for a specific purpose. Ekklesia never reffered to a specific place, only a specific gathering.
Many of the disciples would have ben familiar with another context as well.
The greek translation of the Old Testament describes the ancient Israelites as an Ekklesia. even the Hebrew people were scattered arround the world they were still known collectively as an Ekklesia, an assembly, gathering, community.” When Hebrews formed close knit communities and established synagogues ,the local gathering of God’s people, was still called Ekklesia.
So, when Jesus used the term his disciples understood him to say, “ I’m going to build my own gathering of people and the foundation this new assembly will be ME”
So, there are a couple questions you should be asking yourself by now.
“if the greek means gathering why don’t our english bibles just say gathering?” Where did the word church come from?
I’m glad you asked;
The answers to these questions are revealing. They explain, in part, why the movement sparked by Jesus’ resurrection became institutionalized and eventually marginalized. They explain why most people think of the church as a building or location.
Lets jump forward about 300ish years in history.
AD 313, Constantine legalized freedom of religion in roman territories. Before this, Christianity had been outlawed because Christians insisted that Jesus, not the emperor was their king. Furthermore they refused to honor any Emperor as divine. So, the church suffered intense persecution for the first 300 years of it’s existence. Christians were ostracized, charged with random crimes, and stripped of property. Gathering was difficult and dangerous. But with the arrival of Constantine things began to change. Then something big happened. Constintine declared himself a christian.
After Constantine’s conversion, powerful people brought their Roman notions of worship with them as they professed belief in Christ and began influencing Christian communities. Worship became formal and hierarchical, relegating the congregation to mere spectators. Before the rise of Constantine, it was not unusual for believers to commemorate the anniversary of a martyr’s death by sharing communion near his or her grave. As Christianity became the religion of the Roman elite, they used their influence to take this practice to a new level. They began erecting buildings dedicated to worship on the sites identified with a martyr’s death. When they could not build on a martyr’s grave, they exhumed the bones, transported them to a place of worship, and placed them under the communion table at the front of the sanctuary.
Within a decade, the ekklesia ceased to be a movement. It was no longer an expanding group of people sharing a unique identity and purpose. It had become a location. Gothic (or Germanic) cultures, also influenced by Christianity, used the word kirika, which became kirche in modern German. The word meant “house of the lord,” and was used to refer to any ritual gathering place, Christian or pagan.
This Germanic term became the one used most often to refer to the ekklesia of Jesus, and from it we get the word church.
The majority of your English Bible is a word-for-word translation of the Greek text, not so in this case. The word church is not a translation from the Greek. It is a substitution for the Greek. And a bad one at that.
The German term kirche and the Greek term ekklesia refer to two very different ideas. A kirche is a location. An ekklesia is a purposeful gathering of people. You can lock the doors of a kirche. Not so with the ekklesia of Jesus.
By the Middle Ages in Europe, the Bible was literally chained to the pulpit! This led to an even greater tragedy. Those who controlled the church property and controlled the Scriptures eventually controlled the people. And ultimately the government. What began as a movement, dedicated to carrying the truth of Jesus Christ to every corner of the world, had become an insider-focused, hierarchical, ritualized institution that bore little resemblance to its origins.
While it’s amazing that the church survived the persecution of the first century, it may be more amazing that it survived the institutionalization and corruption of the centuries that followed.
But it did survive. Jesus promised it would. As it turned out, the kirche of man could not contain the ekklesia of Jesus.
In 1453, the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople. At the time, Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire, the seat of both political and religious power. What was seen as a tragic turn of events for the empire turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the true church. As the threat of an Ottoman invasion materialized, Christian scholars fled westward to Europe, carrying with them ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible. These manuscripts found a welcome audience among reformers in the West, they believed that a pope — or any church official—who did not obey the Bible should not be obeyed.
During this period, church officials were the only ones who had access to Bibles, which were a Latin translation called the Vulgate, originally created more than a thousand years earlier! These were either locked up in libraries or, as I mentioned earlier, chained to pulpits.
As Greek and Hebrew manuscripts found their way into the hands of church reformers, it was decided that they should be translated into a language that the common people could read. In 1522, William Tyndale determined to translate the Bible into English.
Finding no support in England, he traveled to Germany, where he completed his translation from the Greek rather than the Latin texts. In 1526, Tyndale began smuggling printed copies of this English Bible into his homeland.
Making the Bible available to his countrymen made Tyndale an outlaw.
Government and church officials plotted to arrest him and try him for heresy. After ten years of searching and scheming, their efforts were rewarded when an acquaintance betrayed him to a band of soldiers hired by church officials. A tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire condemned him as a heretic and turned him over to civil authorities, who bound him to a beam, strangled him with a rope, burned his body, and then scattered his remains.
Think about that. “Church” officials executed a man for translating and distributing the words of Jesus in a language that adults and children could actually read and understand.
here’s another question
Can you imagine trying to explain that to first-century Christians?
Is there any way to reconcile their actions with Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations?
We don’t have a category for that type of thinking or behavior. Through our modern filter we can’t help but ask,
“Why did their hatred for him burn so hot?
Why were they so vehemently opposed to people having their own copies of the Scriptures?”
Once average people had access to the Scriptures, they would discover that the church of the sixteenth century was nothing like the church described in the New Testament. Readers of Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament would be shocked by something else they found as well. Actually, they were shocked by something they didn’t find in his Bible. The word church.
Tyndale had the audacity to actually translate the term ekklesia rather than superimpose the German term kirche. Instead of church he used the term congregation.
If that wasn’t offensive enough, the Greek text led him to use elder instead of priest, and repent instead of do penance.
Throughout the New Testament, he correctly reflected the Bible’s original emphasis on church as a movement rather than a location, on people rather than a building, and on the message of the gospel rather than traditions, liturgy, and hierarchy. Thanks to the courage of men like Tyndale, Huss, Luther, and others, the ekklesia of Jesus became a movement once again.
The Protestant Reformation breathed new life into what had become a tightly controlled institution. The gospel was unchained from the pulpit and made accessible to the common man and woman.
It is unfortunate that Tyndale’s bold but accurate translation of the term ekklesia didn’t have more influence with Bible translators and publishers. By the time of the reformers, the German term church had become so deeply entrenched in Christian culture and conversation that there was no going back. So while much of Tyndale’s translation made its way into the modern and postmodern world, the term ekklesia remains a casualty of translation tradition.
But fortunately, the ekklesia of Jesus is not! From the first century through the twenty-first century there has always been a remnant, a group who refused to substitute kirche for the ekklesia of Jesus.
There have always been and will always be church leaders who refuse to define church in terms of location alone. There will always be leaders who view the church as a movement with a divinely inspired mission and mandate.
It means we need to look around our kirches and ask some unsettling questions.
Are we ekklesia or kirche?
Are we moving or simply meeting?
Are we making a measurable difference in our local communities or simply conducting services?
Are we organized around a mission or are we organized around an antiquated ministry model inherited from a previous generation?
Are we allocating resources as if Jesus is the hope of the world or are the squeaky wheels of church culture driving our budgeting decisions?
Who do you say that I am?
Are we ekklesia or have we settled for kirche?
This morning we have explored some profound questions.Like, Who do you say Jesus is? Ekklesia or Kirche? In just a moment i am going to invite you to respond to these questions. Who do you say Jesus is? Have you ever accepted him as a Savior and Lord? I am going to ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes so we can have a private moment. I am going to say a this prayer; Listen to it now and see if it describes you, or how god is calling you to resppond. You can pray it quietly, under your breath, or you my words to God in your mind. Or you could just say in your heart, “God, that’s what I’m praying right now.”
Here’s the prayer: Lord Jesus, I say that you are savior. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins. I admit I’m a sinner in need of a Savior, and I’m inviting you to be mine right now. Come into my life. Forgive my sin. Live in me as my Leader from now on. I believe you are the Messiah who is rich in mercy. amen
So, i invite everyone to bow your heads and close your eyes and if you need to accept Jesus as your savior pray wit me.
Lord Jesus, I say that you are savior. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins. I admit I’m a sinner in need of a Savior, and I’m inviting you to be mine right now. Come into my life. Forgive my sin. Live in me as my Leader from now on. I believe you are the Messiah who is rich in mercy. amen
So, If you prayed that prayer look up at me. and raise your hand. We will sing a song in just a minute please come foreward so we can talk with you.
Who do you say that I am, Are we ekklesia or have we settled for kirche? those are some powerful questions. If these questions are weighing on your heart I invite you to come forward when we sing as well. The alter will be open for you to pray and for you to share decisions our ekklesia.
Will you pray with me?