Jesus and John the Baptist – the question
Luke 7:18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
(See Matthew 11:2)
John’s context & future expectation…
John FULLY INVESTED IN POINTING JESUS OUT !
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.
( Isaiah 61 )
The Year of the Lord’s Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] )
Luke 7:22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Spirit on me-
Anointed me –
Proclaim – Disciple taught as they walked
Bind up/care – Centurions servant healed
Release from darkness – Boy raised from dead
( How to answer skeptical questions )
Luke 7:23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Luke 7:24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
( THIS “prophet” was prophesied about! )
Luke 7:28-30 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31 Jesus went on to say , “To what then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“We played the pipe for you
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
Luke 7:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”….
Matthew’s version of this story states explicitly that John is in prison when he sends his disciples to ask Jesus who he is; presumably, he cannot come to Jesus himself (Matthew 11:2).
Still, it is clear that John — and many other Jews along with him — expected a Jewish Messiah who would redeem Israel from Roman oppression and usher in a Messianic Era — the kingdom of God on earth. What Jesus had been doing was miraculous, but it wasn’t enough. So, John asks the question: Should we be looking elsewhere? This doesn’t look like the kingdom of heaven. It still looks like the kingdom of Herod. And above Herod, of Rome.
……These provocative exchanges might provoke analogous questions for us: When do we miss the miraculous happening right before our eyes because our expectations limit our imaginations? What should we do when, despite our ardent efforts, the status quo isn’t changing — when those with power and privilege serve themselves at the expense of the powerless, and when God seems to sit idly by while Rome wins?
……In what ways do our convictions about how God should work in the world lead to disappointment — with God, with others, and/or with ourselves? Perhaps, like John, we ought to remember that, as Voltaire wrote, though God created humans in the divine image, “We have more than returned the favor.”