“Now it happened that as He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him. And He asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’”Luke 9:18
The best teachers always ask the right questions. My father-in-law’s philosophy of teaching is that you shouldn’t tell an adult Bible class anything that you can lead them to discover for themselves by asking questions.
Jesus, the ultimate Teacher, asked many questions during His ministry on Earth. When the Pharisees would try to trick Him with a “spiritual” question, He would usually answer them with a question.
Jesus’ disciples often didn’t answer His questions correctly, because they didn’t have much spiritual understanding while He was with them. Their ability to understand spiritual matters increased dramatically after the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.
When Jesus asked His disciples in Mark 8:29, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter nailed it when he declared, “You are the Christ.” And in Matthew’s account of this exchange, Jesus commends Peter by saying, “…flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
Does God still reveal things to us today? We don’t have Jesus in front of us asking direct questions as He did with His disciples. We do have His Word and the Holy Spirit as His agents to teach us what we need for our lives, for each day and each challenge we encounter.
Go back and read Luke 9:18. What was Jesus doing? Praying alone. The disciples were with Him, but they weren’t praying with Him. Jesus was spending time with His Father in prayer. Time spent in prayer with His Father was critical to His effectiveness in completing His assignment on earth. He was aware of the extreme suffering and cruel death He would face. His disciples had not learned the importance of spending time alone in prayer with God in order to face the difficulties of this life.
During the course of Jesus’ time on earth, He always knew who He was, the Christ, the Son of the living God. He knew what God’s plan was for Him—to live life in complete dependence on His Father, to suffer cruel punishment, and die on the cross to pay the price for our sin. We may also know who we are in Christ and what His plan is for us to prepare us for what we may have to endure in this life. Jesus said, “…just as the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21b).