Luke Chapter 7 Continued
Luke 7:18 “And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.”
“The disciples of John”: John the Baptist evidently kept apprised of Christ’s ministry, even after his imprisonment, through disciples who acted as messengers for him (Acts 19-1-7).
In the last lesson, we had seen Jesus raise the widow’s son from death. This news has swept across the land and now has reached the ears of John the Baptist’s disciples. These disciples rush to tell John of the news.
Luke 7:19 “And John calling [unto him] two of his disciples sent [them] to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?”
“Art thou he that should come …?: John was not the sort of man who vacillated (verse 24). We are not to think that his faith was failing or that he had lost confidence in Christ. But with so many unexpected turns of events, John in prison, Christ encountering unbelief and hostility, John wanted reassurance from Christ himself. That is precisely what Jesus gave him (verses 22-23).
John already knows that Jesus is the one, because he saw the dove light on Jesus and remain. God had previously told John that when this happened, the person would be the Messiah. This message that will be brought back will be for the benefit of John’s disciples.
Notice the two disciples. A thing must be established by 2.
Luke 7:20 “When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?”
John wants his disciples to be fully persuaded by what Jesus says and does: that He is the Christ, the Messiah. John is in prison at this time and his disciples may be beginning to doubt. I am sure this is not for John’s benefit; because long before this, John called Jesus the Lamb of God.
Luke 7:21 “And in that same hour he cured many of [their] infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many [that were] blind he gave sight.”
This just means that in front of John’s disciples, Jesus did all sorts of miracles. The “their” above does not mean John’s disciples, but the infirmities of the multitude that followed Jesus.
Luke 7:22 “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.”
“Go your way, and tell John”: (Verses 22-23), are quoted from (Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1). These were messianic promises (Isaiah 61:1), is from the same passage Jesus read in the Nazareth synagogue.
John’s disciple were to report that Jesus was doing precisely what Scripture foretold of the Messiah (verse 21), even though the scheme of prophetic fulfillment was not unfolding quite the way John the Baptist had envisioned it.
Luke 7:23 “And blessed is [he], whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
“He whosoever shall not be offended in me”: This was not meant as a rebuke for John the Baptist, but as encouragement for him (verse 28).
No prophet or priest who ever lived had done so many and so great miracles as these. There is no doubt at all who this is. In (verse 23) here, Jesus is warning John and his disciples not to begin to doubt, because they were faced with adverse circumstances.
Luke 7:24 “And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?”
In verse 24 Jesus speaks highly of John the Baptist. He is telling these people that God has great love and honor for John the Baptist. Jesus didn’t speak this way in front of John’s disciples. He was not trying to win favor with John by saying nice things in front of John’s followers. Jesus really had great respect for John the Baptist.
He is telling the people, if you expect John to be weak and blown by every wind of doctrine, you will be disappointed. John is a powerful man of God. Man looks on the outward appearance. God looks inside to find the worth of a man.
Luke 7:25 “But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.”
Worldly people believe for you to be very important, you must be dressed in fancy clothes and live very extravagant lives. This sort of person would be a king or a president, not a man of God.
God chooses the lowly and humble to be His most important workers. God does not choose by worldly standards, but by the heart.
Luke 7:26 “But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.”
What did you expect a prophet to look like? Were you looking for a prophet? If you found John the Baptist, you found much more than a prophet. God has chosen him for a very special job.
Luke 7:27 “This is [he], of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
This verse is quoted from (Mal. 3:1).
Jesus is explaining to them that John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness proclaiming the coming of Messiah. He is not Messiah; he is proclaiming His coming. The people are to be told Messiah is coming.
It was John’s job to bring this message. Jesus is coming again as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and all believing ministers should be proclaiming His second coming now.
Luke 7:28 “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
John was greater than the Old Testament prophets because he actually saw with his eyes and personally participated in the fulfillment of what they only prophesied (Matthew verses 10, 13; 1 Peter 1:10-11). But all believers after the cross are greater still, because they participate in the full understanding and experience of something John merely foresaw in shadowy form, the actual atoning work of Christ.
In this, I believe Jesus is saying that John is counted as one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. But in the same breath, He is saying to these people who believe Jesus to be a prophet that He is in fact God the Son.
Even though they esteem John to be greater than He is, John is just a man. John is a great prophet, but John is not God. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.
Luke 7:29 “And all the people that heard [him], and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.”
“People that heard him … justified God”: The common people and the outcast tax collectors who heard John the Baptist’ preaching acknowledged that what he required by way of repentance was from God and was righteous.
We see here, that many of these people that Jesus was talking to had listened to John the Baptist. They had repented and been baptized of John. John had been a very convincing preacher, and numerous people in this crowd had accepted him as a true prophet. They had heeded his warning and had been baptized of him.
Luke 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.”
“Reject the counsel of God”: John’s call to repentance was an expression of the will of God. By refusing repentance, they rejected not just John the Baptist, but also God Himself.
These Pharisees and lawyers had elevated themselves to a position of not needing to repent and be baptized, and they had rejected this message of John. Conceit can certainly keep a person from God. God loves the humble.
They had in fact rejected God when they rejected the message God had given John the Baptist. Sometimes even today, we can be so caught up in doctrines that we miss God if we are not careful.
Luke 7:31 “And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?”
The plain way to say this would be, what in the world am I to think of this generation who will not accept John the Baptist’s message or even the Son of God’s message.
Luke 7:32 “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.”
“Like unto children”: Christ used strong derision to rebuke the Pharisees. He suggested they were behaving childishly, determined not to be pleased, whether invited to “dance” (a reference to Christ’s joyous style of ministry). “Eating and drinking” with sinners (verse 34), or urged to “weep” (a reference to John the Baptist’s call to repentance), and John’s more austere manner of ministry (verse 33).
Jesus is calling them children in the knowledge of the things of God. Jesus says whatever message that has been brought to you, you have refused.
Luke 7:33 “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.”
John had been a separated servant even from his mother’s womb. His entire life had been lived in anticipation of this job God had called him to do. He never drank wine. He lived in the desert and ate honey and locusts. He was a very wholesome man.
These worldly people accused him of having a devil, because he lived in the desert and refused to be involved in worldly things.
Luke 7:34 “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!”
“Eating and drinking”: I.e., living an ordinary life. This passage explains why John’s style of ministry differed so dramatically from Jesus’ approach, although their message was the same.
The different methods took away all the Pharisees’ excuses. The very thing they had professed to want to see in Jesus, rigid abstinence and a Spartan lifestyle, was what characterized the ministry of John the Baptist, yet they had already rejected him too. The real problem lay in the corruption of their own hearts, but they would not acknowledge that.
Jesus was criticized for eating corn on the Sabbath. His first public miracle was turning the water into wine. Jesus walked among the common people. Jesus was ridiculed for eating with people the Hebrews felt were unclean.
Jesus said He came to those who needed a physician. It seems it was impossible to please these people.
Luke 7:35 “But wisdom is justified of all her children.”
“Wisdom is justified of all her children”: I.e., true wisdom is vindicated by its consequences, what it produces (James 2:14-17).
We see that only those who have the wisdom of God are the ones who accept the prophets of God and even the Son of God. Those are the people who become children of God.
Luke Chapter 7 Continued Questions
1. What did John the Baptist’s disciples come and tell him?
2. What news has swept across the land?
3. Who did John send to check this out?
4. What questions were they to ask Jesus?
5. How do we know that John already knew who Jesus was?
6. For whose benefit had John sent these disciples to question Jesus?
7. Where is John when this takes place?
8. What miracles did Jesus do before John’s disciples?
9. What were John’s disciples to tell him?
10. What is Jesus doing in verse 23?
11. What questions did Jesus ask the people about John?
12. What is the difference between the way man judges’ man and the way God judges?
13. Those who wear gorgeous clothes live where?
14. What kind of people does God choose to work for Him?
15. What had they expected a prophet to look like?
16. What was John’s job?
17. What was his message?
18. What should be the message of ministers today?
19. Was there a greater prophet born of woman than John?
20. Who is the one intended in verse 28 who was greater?
21. Who had baptized a great number of Jesus’ followers?
22. They had accepted John as a ________ ________.
23. What 2 peoples had refused John’s baptism?
24. Who had they really rejected in so doing?
25. What are many caught up in today that might cause them to miss God?
26. Who did Jesus liken this generation to?
27. How had John come to them?
28. What terrible thing had they said of John?
29. What 2 terrible things had they said of Jesus?
30. What does verse 35 mean?