Answering and Said
Have you ever wondered why the New Testament uses the phrase “answered and said” when either “answered” or “said” is sufficient? Enigmatically, “Answering and said” (AAS) also appears when no question is asked. Naturally, whatever our Lord says is not to be treated as uninvited and his sayings are to be taken as reliable, because he is the primary spokesperson for the Godhead (Heb 1:2). Since answering involves an opinion or sentence after evaluation we have to consider that something special is to be expected in the AAS sayings. So what can we say is going on in these narratives?
Let us begin with apokrinomai, ajpokrivnomai. (apaw-KREE-naw-my) The KRINO (I judge) component of APOKRINOMAI (I answer) is a clue to the nature of the manner and content of speech that follows AAS. Apo (ajpo) is the preposition “from” hence we can say that the content of the AAS saying is intended to be the “take-away”, that which we hold as a settled opinion from what is said.
In Mark 11:14 Jesus is speaking to a fig tree; “said unto it”. The fig tree’s contribution to the conversation is that it was bare – no fruit – when Jesus approached. Our Lord is therefore issuing a sentence or conclusive opinion or judgment (this can be for or against)
And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard [it].
This episode, as strange as it may seem, was a preview of what was about to happen in the Temple and in Jerusalem in general. Israelite religion was all leaves, no fruit. John the Baptist had warned his audiences about the fruitlessness of their lives, especially the lack of repentance. The disciples who saw this exchange with the fig tree were about to witness:
- The Saviour’s Zeal for the Temple
- His indisputable authority
- The bankruptcy of the Jewish leaders
- God’s judgment on the Jewish nation.
It seems that that rather than looking for the literal question in the AAS sayings we should look for a decision or conclusion in the saying. We will find sayings that are akin to the double-amen sayings, which are translated variously as “Truly, Truly”, or “Verily, Verily”, or “Most assuredly”. We can say that our Lord does not merely answer our verbal queries, he also provides assurance of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen, even when he is not invited to speak. After all, he is the Living Word of God, ready to speak life and reliability into our lives. AAS sayings are examples of divine and conclusive opinion.