A Few Thoughts About Giving Answers
B1 Matthew 9:9-17 GNB Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.” Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11 Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?” 12 Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.” 14 Then the followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast at all?” 15 Jesus answered, “Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to be sad as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 “No one patches up an old coat with a piece of new cloth, for the new patch will shrink and make an even bigger hole in the coat. 17 Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, for the skins will burst, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins, and both will keep in good condition.”
B2 Proverbs 26:4-5 NRSV Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you will be a fool yourself. 5 Answer fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes.
Two types of questions
B1 The questioner/s in our first passage
C1 In Matthew 9:9-13, A Pharisee is asking a question, but his attitude is snarky. (of a person, words, or a mood) sharply critical; cutting; snide—source is Bing search)
C2 In Matthew 9:14-17, John the Baptist’s disciples are asking a question and their attitude is one of seeking clarification. They want to learn.
B3 The questioners in our second passage
C1 The word fool in Proverbs 26 passage is the Hebrew word כְּסִיל kᵉçîyl.
D1 It means someone who is arrogant and has all the answers. These fools
D2 Hate knowledge: Proverbs 1:22 NIV How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
D3 Don’t want to understand; they just want to give their opinion (which is the best answer of course and full of wisdom). This kind doesn’t listen well, for they interrupt and start giving advice. Proverbs 18:2 NIV Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
D4 Love wicked schemes:
E1 Proverbs 10:23 NIV A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
E2 2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
D5 Believe it is fun to do wrong: Proverbs 10:23 CEV Fools enjoy doing wrong, but anyone with good sense enjoys acting wisely.
D6 Blurt out their evil foolishness: Proverbs 12:23 GNB Smart people keep quiet about what they know, but stupid people advertise their ignorance.
D7 Their foolishness just pours out, bursts out, and even belches out: Proverbs 15:2 NLT The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.
D8 Love their own foolishness and love hearing and reading the same type of foolishness in others: Proverbs 15:14 NRSV The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
C2 Sometimes the best answer is silence. Why even bother answering them?
D1 An example: 1 Samuel 10:27 LEB However, some worthless men said, “How can this man deliver us?” So they despised him and brought no gift to him, but he kept silent.
D2 Proverbs 10:19 NRSV When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but the prudent are restrained in speech.
B3 The Lord Jesus’s answer for the first passage
C1 To the Pharisee
D1 “I’m here on a healing mission. It is to heal souls sick from the stains of sin.”
D2 “I want you to study this passage: (Hosea 6:7 Brenton/LXX. In our Bibles it is Hosea 6:6) For I will have mercy rather than sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than whole-burnt-offerings.”
D3 God would rather show mercy than judgment. The Pharisee needs to learn this truth.
D4 We see an example of this in Jonah 3:10 LEB And God saw their deeds—that they turned from their evil ways—and God changed his mind about the evil that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.
C2 To John’s disciples
D1 The Believer’s Bible Commentary answers this question:
The Lord answered with an illustration. He was the bridegroom and His disciples the wedding guests. As long as He was with them, there was no reason to fast as a sign of mourning. But He would be taken from them; then His disciples would fast. He was taken from them—in death and burial, and since His ascension He has been bodily absent from His disciples. While Jesus’ words do not command fasting, they certainly approve it as an appropriate exercise for those who await the Bridegroom’s return.
D2 Bishop Ryle writes:
[Ye shall weep and lament, etc.] I believe, with Augustine and Bede, that the whole verse is meant to be a general description of the state of things between the first and second advents of Christ. “During my absence from the world after my ascension, you, my beloved disciples, and all believers after you, shall have many reasons to lament and mourn, like a bride separate from her husband, while the wicked world around you shall rejoice in my absence, and not wish to see Me return. During this long weary interval, you and all believers after you shall often have sorrow and tribulation; but at last, when I come again, your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” In support of this view I advise the reader to study Mat 9:15. The idea in each place seems the same. (Compare also Isa 65:14.)
D3 Two responses to their question
E1 Jesus states that as long as He is here, there is no need to fast, but the time is coming when He will return from heaven. While the believers wait, they will mourn and fast for His return.
E2 The old ways, the Old Testament, were still in effect, but the time is coming when the Old Testament will be done away with. (Hebrews 8:12-13) The New Testament and its rules will be what believers are to live by.
Two types of response
B1 The genuine questioner needs an answer that teaches them truth. It is to lead them to wisdom and knowledge.
C1 In the Matthew 9:9-13 passage, the Lord Jesus wishes to teach them
C2 In the Proverbs 26:4-5 passage, we are instructed to expose foolishness, thus lead them to true wisdom, that is, God’s wisdom.
D1 We need God’s armor: Ephesians 6:10-18.
D2 We need God’s grace to recognize these schemes. Studying the only source of 100% truth helps.
E1 2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
E2 John 8:32 NIV Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
B2 The snarky questioner needs an answer that is to expose their foolish attitude. It is to lead them to repentance.
We need to give an answer to all. 1 Peter 3:15 NLT Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
B1 If the questioner is asking a serious question, we need to answer with truth.
B2 If the questioner is sarcastic, rude, mocking, etc., we still need to answer them. We don’t answer them the same way they asked, but we love them and want them to think.
B3 We must pray to God:
C1 In boldness: Hebrews 4:16 NRSV Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
C2 Seeking wisdom: James 1:5 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
C3 Example: Exodus 17:4 NET Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What will I do with this people? – a little more and they will stone me!”
B4 Our attitude must be gentle yet true: Proverbs 15:1 NLT A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
B5 Think carefully before answering: Proverbs 15:28 NLT The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
B6 Trust God to give the correct answer: Proverbs 16:1 NLT We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.
Proverbs 22:20-21 RSV Have I not written for you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge, 21 to show you what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
A Few Thoughts About Giving Answers
Seeking answers, Proverbs 26:4-5, 8 things fools love, Christian answers