Wednesday 16 December 2009

Bible Book:

"The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?'" (v.18-19)

Luke 7:18b-23 Wednesday 16 December 2009


"Who do you think you are?" John the Baptist's followers askJesus. John has been imprisoned by Herod Antipas, the ruler of thenorthern part of the country (and son of the famous Herod theGreat), because he openly criticised him for his actions, includingadultery. John wants to know whether Jesus is the Messiah('anointed one') the Jewish people have been expecting. It wasbelieved that the Messiah would be sent by God to save them and toestablish God's rule over all the earth.

John was very popular with the people and some of them thought hewas the Messiah. He denied this and said that he was only themessenger, sent by God to prepare people for the Messiah's arrival(Luke 3:15-16).This would be a decisive event which would alter the course ofhistory. The Jewish people would be vindicated and their enemieswould be defeated. Since this hadn't happened, how could Jesus bethe Messiah?

Jesus knows that it isn't just John who has an interest in hisanswer to the question "Who do you think you are?" He is far tooastute to say outright "I am the Messiah". After all, John is inprison because he was seen as a threat to the ruler of theregion.

Jesus' response is to perform many healings in front of John'smessengers and to tell them to make up their own minds. In verse 22he nudges them in the right direction with references to the OldTestament book of Isaiah (see Isaiah29:18-19; 35:5-6; 61:1-2). Some Jewsbelieved this prophet predicted what the Messiah would do when hecame. Jesus is implicitly claiming he is the Messiah foretold inthe Hebrew Bible, but he is also challenging their assumptionsabout how the Messiah will establish God's kingdom on earth.

To Ponder

Jesus said of John the Baptist, "I tell you,among those born of women no one is greater than John" (Luke7:28a). Yet John questioned who Jesus was. What does this say toyou about the place of questions and doubts in your faithjourney?

Imagine yourself as part of the crowd thatoverheard this exchange between Jesus and John's disciples. Whatwould your response have been?

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