Thursday 01 February 2024

Bible Book:

Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind?'

Luke 7:24-30 Thursday 1 February 2024

Psalm 73:1-14


These verses follow on from Jesus’ conversation with John the Baptist's followers, which we studied yesterday. Having answered their question about whether he was the one they were expecting, Jesus now turns to those gathered around him to ask them some questions.

Three times Jesus asks the gathered crowd what they went out to see when they went to find John in the wilderness. And three times he immediately answers his own question.

Jesus asks first if they had gone out to see a weak reed, swayed by the wind in the wilderness. He is alluding to someone who changes their mind and shifts their opinions depending on what is popular. John was definitely not someone looking to be popular or on trend. Instead he stood up for what he believed God was doing and what he was called to do.

Jesus then asks whether they had gone to see someone in expensive clothes. Again the answer is no. Jesus adds an explanation here, saying that you find those kind of people in palaces, whereas John was out in the desert wearing camel skins and eating locusts. He wasn’t rich or well off from his ventures and barely had the essentials to survive. He had chosen an uncomfortable life in order to speak the truth he needed to share.

Finally Jesus asks if they went to see John because they thought he was a prophet. The answer here is a resounding yes. In fact John is named as the greatest, and yet those who find themselves least in the kingdom of God are greater still than he. Jesus often uses phrases that turn the perceived order on its head. The first will be last, the least will be the greatest. This is the upside-down way of the kingdom of God. Those things that are expected are often not what is needed.

This is emphasised in the the final verses. The people listening are encouraged by Jesus' words as they had heard John and trusted in God’s way and been baptised by him. The spiritual leaders though rejected God’s way as they had not been baptised by John. This is not the expected way round but often God’s kingdom looks different to what most people expect.


To Ponder:

  • Have you ever found yourself drawn to or inspired by someone whose commitment to truth and principles led them to make unconventional choices?
  • In what ways can we embrace the 'upside-down values' of God's kingdom in our own lives and interactions with others?
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