Thursday 01 February 2018

Bible Book:

“What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.” (v. 26)

Luke 7:24-30 Thursday 1 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 13


For whom you would be prepared to wait hours in the rain to see? A member of royalty? A celebrity? Members of your favourite football team?

Many of those listening to Jesus had gone out into the wilderness, where the conditions would have been quite inhospitable, to see John the Baptist. Why had they gone?

They had gone to see a prophet who might declare some message of God. Not a flashy celebrity, but certainly a known personality. Yet Jesus says that what they saw was far more than a prophet.

At the very end of Malachi, God announced that he would send the prophet Elijah back to Israel before “the great and terrible day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5). This had become interpreted by some to suggest a great prophet would be sent before the coming of God’s Messiah.

Jesus linked John with Elijah in a quotation also from Malachi (Malachi 3:1). Yet the words have been altered – whether by Jesus or the author. No longer is the messenger being sent to prepare the way for God, but rather for God’s chosen one. If John is linked with Elijah, Jesus is subtly claiming to be God’s Messiah.

Jesus stated how great John was, yet then comes the bizarre counter to that claim that even the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John. Was this second part added later by someone in the Early Church worried that John may be revered too much? More likely, it was Jesus showing how this new kingdom being ushered in by his life and coming death and resurrection, will be of such a higher order that even the great prophet John would pale into insignificance.

Finally, we see how some have accepted the message of grace and repentance brought by John and Jesus, whilst others have rejected it. It can seem amazing that we mere mortals have the capacity to reject the wishes of the sovereign God. It clearly shows that God’s grace will not be forced upon anyone who does not wish to receive it.

To Ponder

  • Where do you go to connect with God?
  • How does it make you feel when you ponder the difference that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has made, given that you may be considered greater than John the Baptist?
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