Wednesday 31 January 2018

Bible Book:

“John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’” (v. 20)

Luke 7:18-23 Wednesday 31 January 2018

Psalm: Psalm 12


The narrative switches from Jesus’ miracles to John the Baptist. In the Gospel of Matthew’s version of this account (Matthew 11:2-6) it is explicit that John is in prison. With Luke, it also seems likely to assume this is the case (Luke 3:19-20).

We may find the question somewhat puzzling. If John was Jesus’ cousin, surely he would have known who he was. Is this a sign of doubt creeping into John’s mind? Languishing in prison, could John be wondering if he had made a mistake?

The only reference we have that John and Jesus were related is in Luke’s infancy account. Could it be that John was actually less closely connected to Jesus and had been hearing what Jesus was doing and saying, and his faith was, in fact, increasing?

Whether it was because of increasing doubt or faith, John’s question provided Jesus with an opportunity to make a clear statement about who he was. Yet Jesus did not answer directly. Instead, borrowing from Isaiah 35:5-6 and Isaiah 61:1 Jesus presented a list of what they have witnessed.

In today’s world, we may think Jesus was dodging the question or spinning an answer. Yet he seems to be saying, ‘The prophets provided images of what God’s coming kingdom would look like; make up your own mind based on what you have seen.’

It is important to recognise that these passages from Isaiah create a vision of a new age of renewal in Israel and are not taken purely literally. When considering signs of the kingdom of God in our time, we should not only look to places of miraculous healing, but also to signs of new life and a new age.

What does Jesus final statement mean (verse 23)? If the blind have sight, the deaf hear and even the dead are raised to life, who could be offended by that? Maybe he meant that the signs are welcome, but the person enacting them is beyond what people expected or imagined. He is not the mighty warrior, but he also doesn’t seem very divine. In fact, he appears like an ordinary bloke. Could this really be the one?

To Ponder

  • How would you answer someone asking whether you believe Jesus to be ‘the one’?
  • Why do you think people today may be offended by Jesus?
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