Who Is It That You’re Seeking?

Matt Pearson

The Curiosity of Christ

Have you ever wondered why Jesus asked so many questions? He could have potentially gotten a lot more accomplished if He used His sovereign knowledge to move along to the next item on His to-do list. There could have been much more “done” if He were more of a come-and-go Lord rather than a come-and-see-and-stay-a-while Savior. In John 20, He makes time to pose the question, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” to the grieving Mary Magdalene.

He never was rushed, was He?

The All-Knowing Lord

He always had time, especially for questions that He already knew the answers to.

Martin Copenhaver writes, “In the four Gospels, Jesus asks 307 different questions. By contrast, He is only asked 183 questions. More striking still, Jesus directly answers very few of the 183 questions He is asked. Jesus directly answers as many as eight of the questions He is asked. [This] means that Jesus is almost 40 times more likely to ask a question than He is to give a direct answer.” (Jesus is The Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and The 3 He Answered by Martin Copenhaver)

The Questions He Asks

And it doesn’t matter if it is the Jesus before the cross or the post-resurrected Jesus. If we dare think Jesus asked so many questions due to a lack of knowledge in His pre-resurrection condition, it doesn’t hold because He also posed inquiries in His resurrected state.

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus’s first words after rising from the dead are two questions to a grieving Mary Magdalene: “Why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” (John 20:15).

Enter In Jesus of Nazareth

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus told His followers that He would rise from the dead. Mary is grieving due to unbelief that it had happened. From what we can tell, it never crossed her mind that He would rise from the dead. Instead of condemnation, Jesus poses a question. Instead of suddenly frightening her with His new reality, He gently comes alongside her. Instead of a teaching moment filled with rebuke, He pries into her emotional capacities.

He doesn’t exacerbate her grief; He enters into it with her.

But Why, Lord?

Why? Why does Jesus ask so many questions? He already knew why Mary Magdalene was crying. He knew who she was seeking. What’s more, He already knew the answer to every question He asked. As the omniscient Son of God, He knew.

So, why all the questions?

A Relational God

Again, Copenhaver is helpful: “Easy answers can give us a sense of finality. By entertaining questions, God has a chance to change us. Answers can be offered as a conclusion. Questions are an invitation to further reflection. For the most part, answers close, and questions open. It is telling that the word “question contains the word “quest.” That is, a question sends you on a journey and often in search of something valuable… The goal is not to communicate knowledge but to elicit new understanding in the listener. Information is not the goal. Transformation is.” (Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and The 3 He Answered by Martin Copenhaver)

I love that. Jesus asks questions because He is after relationship. Copenhaver said it best: “Questions are an invitation to further reflection.” Questions invite along into a relationship. They open dialogue. They seek conversation. Jesus doesn’t give a one-word answer and then move on to the next thing. No. He is never in a hurry to get to the next person on His list. He poses questions in order to be with and relate, to be present and interested. So, for the question “Who is it that you’re seeking?”, He offers Himself to us, that He would be known.

Our Come-and-See Savior

When Jesus asks Mary Magdalene why she’s crying and who she’s seeking, He is wanting to hear it from her. He is wanting to hear it from her mouth. He is wanting to engage with her in a loving, gentle, and comforting dialogue. It’s what Jesus does. It’s who He is. Jesus is not a come-and-go Lord.

No. He is a come-and-see Savior. He is a come-and-sit-for-a-while God.

The Way of Jesus

Let me encourage you to: one, allow Jesus to be this way with you. Don’t rush. Don’t think He’s in a rush. The questions He poses in the Gospels, He still poses today. Why? To be with you. To converse with you. To dialogue with you. To be in relationship with you.

Two, let me encourage you to be like Jesus with others. Ask questions. Be curious. Be patient. Be slow. Invite along. Don’t be a come-and-go person with others. Be one who is eager to come alongside. Sit with. Be with. Just as Christ asked, “Who is it that you’re seeking?”, be prepared to do the same. Help those around you experience the way of Jesus as you seek to talk about Him with a weary, waiting world.