Children are full of questions. They are beautiful little creatures as babies who make cute sounds. When they reach the toddler age they start to ask more questions. When they reach the age of five or six the questions come at a rapid-fire pace. This happens as their brains develop, and they are starting to learn and investigate the word around them. As a child asked many questions to learn, the Church did something similar when developing a proper Christology. The role of questions in the development of New Testament Christology is something that cannot be underestimated. In his book, Jesus: A Portrait, Gerald O’Collins examines seven key questions that helps establish who Jesus was.
The questions that O’Collins discusses in his section titled “Jesus the Questioner” come from the Gospel of John. John is laid out in such a way that it makes a clear statement about the divine nature of Christ (O’Collins 202). The first questions that Jesus poses in the Gospel in found in John 1:38. Jesus simply asks Andrew “What are you looking for?” (NRSV). In the early Church they were striving to understand Christ in a deeper way. It is important to note that when these questions were being asked the whole New Testament had not been formally compiled. So, looking solely to scripture would not have been possible, but apostolic tradition played a big role in the process. We are all looking for something, and that something is the savior. Jesus asks this question in such a way that he is not forcing himself on anyone but challenges us (O’Collins 203).
The above question is only one that Christ asks in the Gospel of John. The following are the remaining six questions:
Will you also go away (John 6:67)? Do you believe this (John 11:26)? Do you know what I have done for you (John 13:12)? Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Phillip (John 14:9)? Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for (John 20:15)? Do you love me (John 21:15-17)?
Questions in the Bible are not an obtuse thought or a New Testament invention. Many questions are asked, and many truths and commands are conveyed through their use (O’Collins 202). Christ was God incarnate, came to earth, and started asking questions. O’Collins brilliantly states, “The God who says to Adam ‘Where are you?’, and to Job ‘I will question you’, has come among us and slips at once into the divine habit of asking questions” (O’Collins 202).
Likewise, the Church followed the example of its founder and started asking questions. These questions led to inquiry, scriptural exegesis, and a deeper consultation of Sacred Tradition. Because of questions there were various heresies that popped up. Some of these, such as Arianism, were very popular and lasted longer than anyone would have thought. These heresies also brought up more questions about the nature of Christ, and the Church was forced to answer more questions. This led to a better understanding of Christology and served as the foundation for our understanding today. Questions were vital in this process.
Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version
O’ Collins, Gerald. Jesus: A Portrait. New York: Maryknoll, 2013. Print