I recently found myself driving along on a snowy, messy morning headed to church. The road conditions raised my alert level a bit, but I was also speaking in a new place this particular morning and was paying extra attention so as to find my way. For whatever reason, I noticed something seemingly for the first time, though I’m sure I had driven past before. It was a sign – a large billboard, actually – that simply read “Jesus is the Answer!” I had certainly heard that statement before and more than likely even seen that billboard, but for some reason I took notice in a new way. This time it caused me to wonder, “Is this a true statement?”
Before you quit reading and pronounce me a heretic, let me explain. It certainly sounds like a true statement. In fact, I believe that what it is meant to say is true. However, the fact of the matter is that it depends on what the question is and herein is my concern. Someone with good intentions (presumably a desire to share the gospel) made a statement that is actually meaningless at best and harmful at worst unless the audience makes the exact same assumptions as the author. If we desire to impact a lost and increasingly biblically ignorant world with the gospel, can we really afford to assume that they are asking the right questions?
I am not saying that Jesus is not the answer. I am saying that before we can proclaim him as the answer, we must lead people to the point of asking the right questions. We have churches filled with people seeking a Jesus that answers their selfish, “American dream” driven questions. How can I be happy? How can I feel fulfilled? How can I make money and be successful? How can I reduce the number of problems in my life? These are the wrong questions, but many churches are promising a Jesus that is primarily concerned with these issues.
The church is certainly called to proclaim Jesus as the answer, but we are also called to raise the right questions. Let’s direct people to questions about our purpose in life, the problem of sin, the way to God, etc. When we are faithfully doing this, we can boldly proclaim together that “Jesus Is the Answer!”