The Wrong Question

The Wrong Question

I was THAT kid in school.  The one who asked, “is there a maximum number of pages for this paper?” The one who pleaded for more, not fewer, graded assignments.  And the one who begged the teacher for essay questions rather than multiple choice.   My concern was not a zeal for learning, but an obsession with my grades – and more specifically my grade point average.   At any given moment, I could assess the effect of any graded assignment to my overall GPA.   

I did not trust multiple choice questions.   I second guessed and micro analyzed every question.  Not my answers, I felt confident of those.  What I feared was subtly in the questions themselves.   Surely a trap or a trick had been embedded into what appeared a simple query?  For indeed, this is what makes good multiple choice and true/false questions tick.   What if my teacher was not clever enough to get this right?  An essay allowed me to correct poorly crafted questions and clarify exactly what question I had answered.  

Tucked away in my anxiety closet was a large store of Atychiphobia – a fear of failure that takes on an extreme form.   What if I gave the right answer to the wrong question?   I would fail.  My GPA would drop.  My future would hang in the balance.  All hopes of future happiness and success would vanish.  Or so I thought.  Failing to spot a flawed question seemed to me catastrophic.   And answering the wrong question, even with the right answer, an irrecoverable misstep.  

Of course, no such plot existed.  The multiple choice and true/false questions had not been laced with poison logic or satanic subtlety.   All was as it appeared.  But the consequences of answering the wrong question manufactured for me considerable adolescent angst.   Most of us don’t rise to this level of concern about right and wrong questions.   We are simply concerned with right and wrong answers.  But what if I had been right to be afraid?  What if an irrecoverable misstep or eternal catastrophe did result from answering the wrong question, but never answering the right one?

The story of the wise men in Matthew 2 poses this conundrum vividly.  

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

MATTHEW 2:1-6

On the surface, the wise men and Herod seem to be asking the same question.   But closer examination reveals a great, but subtle, difference.   The wise men ask, “where is he, that we may worship him?”  Herod asks, “where is he, that I may manage him and preserve my own autonomy?”   All men ask these same two questions.  Believers seek him to worship him.   Skeptics seek him to manage, discredit, and remove him from his place in their lives.

What about you?  What is your question when it comes to Jesus?   Is it to find him and worship him?  Or to manage, discredit, and remove him from your life?   Or do you have no concern for him at all?   Questions about Jesus are inextricably tied to our own existential questions, whether we admit it or not.   When it comes to this test, to answer the wrong question is fatal.   The gospel enables us actually know Jesus, not merely know about him.   Are you asking the right questions?    Join us as we examine Matthew 2 and Micah 5:1-6 this week and consider the difference between asking right and wrong questions.

We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.

10/31/2021 | “Always Reforming” | Revelation 21:9-22:5

10/31/2021 | “Always Reforming” | Revelation 21:9-22:5

Always Reforming.   The church is always in need of correction, sanctification, renewal, discipleship, gospel preaching, the faithful and diligent use of the ordinary means of grace.   The marks of the church imply as much — faithful preaching of the Word, faithful administration of the Sacraments, and church discipline.   The Reformation of the Church is not an event, it is ‘laundry work.’   Ever doing and never done.  That is, until the day when the church descends from heaven – holy, radiant, finally and fully prepared to be the bride and wife of the lamb.   For now, the church must be ‘always reforming.’  But a day is coming when faith becomes sight and every promise, every ‘yes and amen’ in Christ, is fulfilled.   Then the church will at last be all she has been created to be.   All brokenness and blemish will be gone.  

Her beauty, her perfect fellowship with her Beloved, and her indescribable life, so beautifully captured in Revelation 21:9-22:5, are the hope to which we press.   Because a day is coming when the laundry work of reformation will reach its end, we press on with the work of always reforming.    As the scripture commands us, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  Join us this Reformation Lord’s Day, as we examine Revelation 21:9-22:5 and consider a day when the church will no longer be ‘always reforming.’  

12/12/2021 | “Who Are You?” | Isaiah 9:1-7

12/12/2021 | “Who Are You?” | Isaiah 9:1-7

When someone mentions Jesus, what comes to mind?  Religious revolutionary? Social justice warrior?  Ethical teacher?  Failed Zionist leader?  Founder of a yet another world religion? Who is this Jesus?  For many it is a caricature, influenced by pictures you have seen or by clichés which permeate our cultural ideas of “the historical Jesus.”  Or perhaps you remember him from a collection of anecdotes or parables you heard as a child in some Sunday School.

Who is Jesus?  Our nativity scenes portray only Jesus’ humanity.   But in the OT Jesus is called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Think you know who Jesus is?  Listen as we examine Isaiah 9:1-7 and uncover Jesus full identity as “the only Redeemer of God’s elect… who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.” 

11/28/2021 | “The Everlasting King” | 2 Samuel 7:1-14

11/28/2021 | “The Everlasting King” | 2 Samuel 7:1-14

As a boy, the Sears and Roebuck Catalog opened up new worlds of Christmas possibilities and gave substance to my letters to Santa.   While aware of its dangers, my parents also understood it power to guide expectations.   Before the catalog arrived, they would talk up the ideas of what they planned to give.   Then when it arrived, they used the catalog to reinforce their ideas either by confirmation or contrast.  Our parents gave us what was best for us, but they also wanted us to rejoice in receiving it.  

Our heavenly Father is like this.   He wants us to rejoice in receiving His gifts.  The history of redemption is the epic story of God giving His greatest gift to beloved children, but not before teaching us to expect and desire what He plans to give.   From Genesis to Revelation, God trains our expectations and creates our desire for the Savior He offers.  What type of Savior are you looking for?   Someone to save you from your circumstances?  Or your feelings?  Or you past?  Or you fear of the future?   Or one who is much more – an everlasting and eternal King who gives everlasting life.   Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine 2 Samuel 7:1-14 and consider how God’s promise to David reveals Jesus as our Everlasting King.

Lessons and Carols, 2021

Lessons and Carols, 2021

The story of Christ’s coming is the most dramatic story ever told. While it reaches a beautiful high point with Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, there is much more to this story – a story with origins in eternity past and implications in eternity future, a story of epic failure and dramatic rescue, a story that reveals a God quite different from the one our fears imagine. Come and experience the rest of this story in God’s own words and in song as we share in An Evening of Lessons and Carols together at 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 19.

We meet in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  Or join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.