“Enquiring minds want to know.” Most of you reading this will recognize that phrase as the tag-line of the National Enquirer magazine for a number of years. They were right. We are inquisitive creatures. We want to know “Where’s the beef?” We want to know “Who shot J.R.?” We ask ourselves, “Where’s Waldo?” We even wax philosophical and ask “What is the meaning of life?” or “What is my purpose in life?” These questions range from light-hearted to life-altering and yet none warrants being considered the most important question ever asked.
It has been said there are no ‘dumb’ questions however I do believe that questions have differing levels of importance. How do we assess level of importance? This can only be determined by the value of the information being sought. Throughout scripture we see questions asked by many including God, prophets, kings, faithful and unfaithful, Jew and Gentile. Which was the most important? God asked Adam and Eve “Where are you?” Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked from the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” The apostle Paul asked Jesus on the road to Damascus, “Who are you, Lord?” Each of these questions has its own importance and specific purpose, but an honest review does not merit giving it the title of “Most Important Question Ever Asked.” I believe a question of that magnitude must be one that has eternal consequences.
Allow me to present to you three questions from the New Testament that I find strikingly similar yet asked by three distinctly different types of individuals. First, a rich, young, law-abiding Jewish man approaches Jesus with the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mt 19:16) A group of Jews, upon hearing the convicting words of Peter’s first Gospel sermon asked, “Brethren what must we do?” (Acts 2:37) The last question to consider was posed by a Gentile man responsible for the prisoners in a jail in Philippi. When Paul prevented the jailer from taking his own life, the jailer inquired of Paul “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) This, after his physical life had been saved, giving us the impression he was speaking of another type of salvation. You do see what I feel to be the most important question ever asked, don’t you? Have you asked that all-important question? Have you embraced the answers to these questions? Hmmm, important questions indeed!
Copyright © 2012, Nolan P. Rutter