Luke 7:1-35 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Life of Faith
Comments for Study 14

Luke 7:1-35
Memory Verse: 9

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I. Such Great Faith (1-10)

Jesus' Mid-Ministry Travels

>1. What was the problem of the centurion of Capernaum?

* Luke 7:1-2 "When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die."

* This is also in Matthew 8:5-13. Mark and John do not record this event. John's record of a royal official whose son was sick is not the same event. (John 4:46-54) There are to many differences for anyone to believe they are the same.

* "When Jesus had finished saying all this" -Jesus had given a sermon in a level place (a plain), which was not the same event as the sermon on the mount. There are to many differences for anyone to believe they were the same event.

* "in the hearing of the people" -Jesus had directed the sermon to his disciples. However, he wanted all the people following him to hear it too because so many of them weren't true disciples, but either wanted to be or was considering to be his disciple. (Luke 6:17-19)

* "he entered Capernaum" -Jesus had made Capernaum the center of his ministry in Galilee. He would travel around Galilee for awhile and even go to Jerusalem for a holiday, but he always returned to Capernaum. (Luke 4:31; Mark 1:21; Matthew 4:13; John 2:12)

* "There a centurion" -Centurions were commanders of usually one hundred (100) men in the Roman army. Centurions were in charge of keeping "Roman" peace and making sure that the taxes were collected. This was often done by cruel force. They were known to crucify, humiliate, and torture prisoners. (See Jesus' time before the Roman army in Luke 23 and Mark 15:16-20.) Centurions were battle hardened, rough and tough. They were told and believed the best way to rule the world was to crush the will of any rebellion or opposing army. They were the core strength of the Roman army.

* "There a centurion's servant... was sick and about to die." -A centurion came to him about his sick servant. The original Greek word for servant is "doulos". It has the root word "deo" meaning slave.

* This event is the first time Jesus dealt directly with a Gentile, one to one.

* At the time of Jesus birth there was a Jewish rebellion against the Romans. (Acts 5:37 mentions such rebellions.) Judas of Galilee or Judas of Gamala was a Jewish leader who led an armed resistance to the census imposed for Roman tax purposes by Quirinius in Iudaea Province around 6 B.C. The revolt was crushed brutally by the Romans. These events are discussed by Josephus in Jewish Wars and in Antiquities of the Jews. Many Jews were crucified to hinder such rebellions from happening again.

Centurion's Faith

* The engraving to the right is of the Roman Centurion asking Jesus to heal his servant by Luther, Martin, 1483-1546. In the foreground, Jesus heals ten lepers. In the background, a Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>What did he do about it?

* Luke 7:3 "The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant."

* "The centurion heard of Jesus" -Jesus' words and healing power were well known. We do not know how this Roman came to know of Jesus. However, part of his job would include knowing of anyone who was drawing crowds in his region. We can assume that he came to believe in Jesus or else he would not have sent for Jesus.

* "sent some elders of the Jews to him" -The Roman centurion's relationship with the Jewish elders was not common. The Romans didn't understand nor respect the Jews and their religion. The Romans treated them different than any other occupied country. Rome gave the Jews special privileges including exemption from Roman army service.

We are not given this man's background, but we can assume that he came to believe and respect the God of the Jews. We can even assume that he believed in the Messiah's coming and that Jesus was the Messiah. It might be a stretch of assumption, but we could even believe that this servant was a Jew and played an important role in this centurion's faith in Jesus.

* "some elders" -The elders coming to Jesus is slightly unusual because many in their ranks were beginning to despise Jesus, labelling him as a dangerous man who blasphemies God. Their respect for this centurion was truly great.

* Matthew does not record the centurion sending the elders. This does not make Luke's record a different event than Matthew's. Often the scriptures (and society) ignore the people sent because they are only coming on behalf of the one sending them. Matthew ignore this detail. His audience was the Jews and he wanted to drive the point that Jesus made as recorded in Matthew 8:11-12. Luke ignores these words because his audience was the Gentiles and he wanted to stress this Gentile, a Roman centurion co-working with the Jewish elders and visa-versa.

>What was so unusual about his concern for his servant?

* "whom his master valued highly" -The centurion's concern is very unusually. Many saw servants as sub-human, throw away possessions. Many would abandoned a sick servant. Such is what happened during the days of King David. 1 Samuel 30:13-14 records David finding a dying man by the road. "David asked him, 'To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?' He said, 'I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.'"

* We are not told why this centurion regarded his servant so highly. I have given one possibility in the above question.

* A heartless owner of a slave would be concerned for the loss of money and service. They would weigh the cost of doctors, treatment and medication. If it was more than they believed the servant was worth and/or the cost of replacement, then they would let the servant die.

* Roman and Greek society and philosophy does not place a high value on human life. The Lord God and thus the Bible puts a very high value on every human life.

* God places high value on our life because:
    1) He created us.
    2) He created us in his image.
    3) He loves us.

* Slavery is on the rise today in every country. Why? Because the average person's love for his neighbor has greatly declined. We dehumanize people in our minds. This ungodly thinking can be heard in people's words and witnessed in people's actions towards each other. Considering someone as less than ourselves (pride) is a door to making someone our slave, and allowing others to have slaves. Making someone a slave is even celebrated in many societies today, a sure sign of decadence and looming disaster. Jesus valued everyone the same. He treats everyone with love and compassion.

* You are loved by God and he considers you highly valuable. The same is true for every human. Do you value every human life as he does?

>What did the elders of the Jews say about the centurion?

* Luke 7:4-5 "When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."

* "they pleaded earnestly with him" -Jesus must have hesitated for them to plead. Why did Jesus hesitate? Perhaps to make it clear that they pleaded for him to help a Gentile, a Roman centurion.

* "This man deserves to have you do this" -The centurion wanted Jesus to heal his servant. The elders knew this and excepted it. By this time in his ministry everyone knew that Jesus had the power to heal anyone he wanted to.

* The Jewish elders were doing their priestly duty. They were bringing Gentiles to the Lord Jesus and praying for a Gentile. However, this was the exception to the rule. Like the prophet Jonah, must Jews didn't want anything to do with bring Gentiles to their Lord and if they did they did it reluctantly. Some in this group would have been doing as Jonah. Others might have done it only because he built their synagogue and others because he supported their nation.

>What can you learn about him?

* "because he... and has built our synagogue" -The man must have been stationed in Capernaum for several years for him to believe in the God of the Jews enough to gain their respect and build a synagogue. Of course the man did not build it himself. Rather, they meant he paid for either all of it, or at least most of it.

* "because he loves our nation" -A possible motive for some of the elders to do this for the Roman centurion. See the above question for other motives of the elders.

* The cost of building a synagogue would have been great. Centurions were paid more than the average soldier and person. However, this still would have been a great sacrifice for the man. He would also be in a good place to make it easier for them to build the synagogue.

* The centurion sent the Jewish elders to Jesus because he did not want to hinder Jesus' ministry. He understood God's teaching and accepted his place within God's history and plan. When a Jew would come in the presence of a Gentile he might be considered unclean because of the experience. He thought he might ruin Jesus' reputation and ministry for being in his presence. See his words recorded in verse 6. He was humble.

* He respected others; especially those considered teachers of the Jews.

* Today so many, especially the young do not understand good social order. Respect for others especially those is leadership positions has eroded. Consider how many people address others with "sir" and "ma'am".

* Building their synagogue meant that he accepted their culture too. He wanted to help them meet together and study the Bible there.

* He accepted the God of the Jews. Yet he maintained his position in the Roman military machine. He did not leave his old life even though he was part of the machine that oppressed people. Instead, he used his position to help those in the area he was assigned to. Later, Apostle Paul would tell the church that they should maintain the position that they were in when God called them meaning not to cause a rebellion or civil unrest. (1 Corinthians 7:20-24)

Centurion's Faith

* The engraving to the right is of the Roman Centurion asking Jesus to heal his servant by Eck, Johann, 1486-1543. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>2. How did Jesus respond to this plea?

* Luke 7:6a "So Jesus went with him."

* Jesus didn't judge on outward appearances. He didn't put people into categories that society did. He did not judge by human standards. He looked at faith, hope, and love.

>Why?

* He believed in Jesus' power in the spiritual world.

* The pleading Jewish leaders convinced Jesus to help this man.

* We can plead for others too through prayer.

* We are a new priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9-10) We should be bringing people to Jesus just like this. Jesus will respond to us if we bring people to him through words and actions. At the same time we can pray, asking Jesus to work in their lives so they may know him in a loving and personal way. Who are you praying for now? Who are you witnessing to now?

* Consider how his fellow Romans and soldiers reacted to his fondness of the Jewish religion. Consider how he was risking his reputation and position in asking for a Jewish teacher to perform a miracle for a servant.

>How did he show his deep respect and confidence in the power and authority of Jesus' word?

* Luke 7:6b-8 "He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

* "the centurion sent friends" -Either Roman soldiers, Jewish civilians, or both.

* "Lord" -"Lord" in Greek here and elsewhere in the New Testament is "Kyrois". This is the same Greek word used in the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint for the YHWH (aka YWVH, Jehovah, Yahweh, Jahveh, Jahweh, the Tetragrammaton). The Spetuagint dates to the third century B.C., written by Jewish scholars for Jews who knew Greek, but not Hebrew. The New Testament writers used the same word when referring to Jesus. They obviously believed that Jesus is the God of the Jews, the God of the Old Testament.

* "Don't trouble yourself" -The soldier showed self control after sending the Jewish leaders to Jesus. Perhaps he thought he was using his influence over them for selfish reason and advantage.

* "I do not deserve to have you come under my roof" -He knew that the Jews considered being in the home of a Gentile a way to be made made unclean. (Ezra 6:21; Acts 10:28)

* He was a true gentleman. He was a godly man. He was a man who understood the truth principle.

* His job didn't influence his character.

* He wasn't two faced. The Jews attitude towards him could only have been won over a long time.

* He had to have a very good understanding of the Bible.

* "authority" -The centurion understood authority and knew Jesus had authority in the spiritual world. He was disciplined and taught discipline. His understanding of Jesus' authority is the greatest thus far in Jesus' earthly ministry.

* "just say the word" -Meaning "be willing". This is the same as any prayer we make. He was praying, "I already believe you can do it." He had practical acting prayer faith. He knew the power of Jesus' spoken word.

* He wasn't saying Jesus could send an angle to heal. Prophets didn't send angels nor ever command an angel. Jesus is more than a prophet. Jesus had authority to command angels. Yet, the man didn't ask Jesus to send an angel to heal. He believed Jesus could heal. Whether Jesus is an arms length away, a rock throw away, a planet away or eternity away, all he has to do is speak and people are healed.

* Jesus created everything by speaking. (John 1:1-3, 14) Jesus' word has power.

>3. Why was Jesus amazed at him?

* Luke 7:9 "When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.""

* "he was amazed at him" -The original Greek word for "amazed" is "thaumazo". The KJV translates it "marveled". Jesus is only recorded at being amazed twice. Mark 6:6 records that Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith of people in his hometown. Jesus praised the centurion and left his hometown. Jesus performed a miracle for the centurion and no miracles for his hometown. If we want to impress God we can either do it by having great faith or no faith. Having faith brings praise and miracles happen. The other drives a wedge between us and God. Do you have practical faith like the centurion?

* "turning to the crowd following him" -Jesus wanted all to know what kind of faith God desires and blesses.

* "I have not found such great faith even in Israel." -Jesus gave a subtle rebuke to all Israel (not just the Jews) that would be taken more as in insult to the proud Jews. A Gentile displayed greater faith then they, even the four men who lowered their paralytic friend in front of teaching Jesus.

* His practical faith is amazing to Jesus because it was based on the power of Jesus' word.

* The centurion believed with little exposure to Jesus.

* Jesus didn't comment about this man's humility.

* Faith in another reveals trust in their good intention. Faith reveals we believe that the other loves us. Love for someone means faith in them and trusting them. Adam and Eve did not display trust in God's love when they believed the lie and disobeyed God. This is why God considers faith so important.

>How did Jesus bless his faith?

* Luke 7:10 "Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well."

* "found the servant well" -This was a subtle miracle. Often answers to prayers is like this centurion's prayer. Even though the answer is subtle it is none the less a miracle, an answer to prayer.

* The men sent experienced a miracle because of the centurion's faith in Jesus. Our faith in Jesus affects others.

>What can we learn about Jesus?

* Jesus blesses faith.

* Jesus not only came to the Jews, but for the Gentiles too.

* Jesus did not react different to the Jew's faith and to this man's faith. Faith is faith no matter the race, age, gender, personality, social position, and occupation. Paul makes this very clear in his letters to the Galatians and the Romans.

* Gentiles can have great faith and thus be blessed by God too.

* Jesus actions foreshadowed the great work to come amongst the Gentiles.

* Matthew 8:11-12 adds Jesus saying, "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

II. He said, "Don't cry." (11-17)

>4. What contrasts can you find between the two large crowds that met at the town gate of Nain?

* Luke 7:11-12 "Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out--the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her."

* "Soon afterward" -Luke states that this even definitely happened after the previous event. However, either he did not know or was not concerned as to how long after. Capernaum and Nain were about thirty (30) miles (50 km) apart. So it would have been at least one or two days after.

* "Jesus went to a town" -Jesus travelled a lot.

* "Nain" -Place name meaning, pleasant," a village in south-west Galilee. The ancient town sat on a hillside overlooking the Plain of Esdraelon. Only Luke mentions it.

* "his disciples" -Those who believed in him and was dedicated to him.

* "a large crowd went along with him" -Those were weren't quit convinced in his position as Messiah. They were not completely dedicated to him. Every congregation has people like this.

* "town gate" -The town gate was the place where business was conducted. It was often the cities center of activity.

* "a dead person was being carried out" -The graves were outside the city limits (walls).

* "the only son of his mother, and she was a widow." -A widow had no authority in ancient society. Her son would have been her only means of substance, unless she had a gracious uncle, brother, brother-in-law, or cousin. Being a widow there would be no way for her to have a son again because no man would want to marry a widow in those times and in that society. (The average lifetime was short.) When her son died her whole reason for living died with him. Women in those days and in that society had little to look forward to. Having children, especially boys was one of the few highlights in their short life.

* The Lord's covenant with Israel gave widows and orphans special protection. Exodus 22:22-24 states, "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless." Jeremiah 49:11 states, "Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives. Your widows too can trust in me."

* "And a large crowd from the town was with her." -A funeral procession is dark and gloomy.

* Not only those following Jesus saw this miracle, even those from Nain saw this miracle.

* This event is the first time Jesus raised someone from the dead.

Jesus Raises a child at Nain

* The engraving to the right is of Jesus raising a child from the dead at Nain from the Catholic Church. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>What did Jesus say to the widow?

* Luke 7:13 "When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

* "When the Lord saw her" -Jesus took notice of this sad poor widow. The previous event had the Jewis elders bringing Jesus to a prominent Gentile soldier. The two miracles are contrasts in many ways.

* "his heart went out to her" -Jesus' compassion is well documented in the New Testament.

* "Don't cry" -Jesus planted love, faith and hope in her heart with two words.

* Jesus said to two sisters who lost their only brother and means of support, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)

>What did Jesus do?

* Luke 7:14-15 "Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother."

* "Then he went up and touched the coffin" -The Israelites were not allowed to touch the dead. (Numbers 5:1-3; Haggai 2:13) Jewish custom was to carry the corpse to a carved or natural cave. There the corpse would stayed until the body was fully decayed. The bones were put in an ossuary. Jewish coffins of the time are sometimes called an ossuary. Touching a coffin might also be considered making a Jew unclean.

* "Young man, I say to you, get up!" -The power of Jesus' spoken word.

* "The dead man sat up and began to talk" -Clear evidence of Jesus' life giving power.

* "Jesus gave him back to his mother" -Jesus did not ask the young man to follow him.

* Jesus is displaying God's character.

Ossuary of Caiaphas granddaughter

* See a picture to the right of a Jewish ossuary recently found somewhere in the Valley of Elah, site of David's conflict with the giant Goliath. It is decorated with two large stylised flowers or stars on its long sides as well as an intricate pattern around the edges. The inscription states, "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Ma'aziah from Beth Imri". Caiaphas, of course, was the high priest in power at the time of Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, notorious for having botched the job of providing false testimony against the Prisoner. Although there are no historical records of his grand-daughter, it is not impossible that he should have a son called "Joshua" nor that that son should have a daughter called "Miriam". They are all good Jewish names. Beth Imri is believed to be located somewhere near Hebron, and the "Ma'aziah" is believed to be one of the priestly courses mentioned in Chronicles, where it comes last in the list of twenty-four. The ossuary of Caiaphas was also recently found in a tomb in Jerusalem.

>How did the crowd respond?

* Luke 7:16-17 "They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country."

* "They were all filled with awe and praised God."

* "A great prophet has appeared among us" -Elisha and Elijah, ancient prophets of Israel, both raised up the dead.

* "God has come to help his people."

* This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country."

>Why?

* Jesus raised the boy from death by merely speaking to him.

* Jesus has the power to overcome death.

* Jesus has great love and compassion.

Jesus Raises a child at Nain

* The engraving to the right is of Jesus raising a child from the dead at Nain by Luther, Martin, 1483-1546. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>What does this event reveal about Jesus' power and compassion?

* Jesus responds out of compassion (here) and to faith (the previous event).

III. Jesus' Answers to John (18-28)

>5. When John's disciples told him about Jesus what did he tell them to do and what did they do?

* Luke 7:18-20 "John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

* This event is in Matthew 11:1-19. Mark and John do not record this event. Much about John's ministry is recorded in all four gospels, Acts, and even the apostles' letters.

* "John's disciples told him about all these things." -John the Baptist had many disciples. (Luke 11:1) Some of Jesus' first disciples were John's disciples. (John 1:35-37, 40) Paul, on one of his missionary journeys came across some of John's disciples. (Acts 18:25) All but the religious leaders considered John a prophet. (Matthew 14:5, 21:26; Mark 11:32; John 10:41; Acts 13:24-25)

* "he sent them to the Lord to ask" -John had always been trying to lead people to Jesus. (John 1:15, 32, 40)

* "When the men came to Jesus" -Some of John's disciples stayed with John even though John had been trying to get people to go to Jesus. Eventually, when John died most began following Jesus.

* "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" -The very question everyone needs to ask themselves and answer. Who do you believe Jesus is? Is he the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the creator of the word? Is he your Lord, your Master, your teacher, your Rabbi? Is he your friend, your lover, you destiny? The answer of this question will guide your eternal existence.

* "should we expect" -Not, "should I expect." John was including his disciples in this question because he was thinking of them, not himself.

Jesus Teaches about John the Baptist

* The art to the right is of Jesus speaking about John the Baptist, telling the crowds who he is and what he was sent to accomplish. Illustration by Pierre Eskrich (ca. 1550-ca. 1590). Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>Why? (Matt. 11:2-3)

* Matthew 11:2-3 "When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

* Matthew 11:2-3, 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29 records Herod locking John up to shut him up. While in prison John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask this question. For possibilities can be considered:
    1) So his disciples would go to Jesus to learn instead of sitting around faithfully waiting for him possibly to be released, instead of being faithful to Jesus.
    2) So his disciples would see for themselves Jesus' ministry and learn he is the Messiah all Israel waited for. John was perhaps trying to plant hope in his disciples' heart.
    3) So he would know that his ministry wasn't in vain. So he would know he did right. John was suffering in prison and couldn't preach any more.
    4) To be sure himself that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus and John's ministry was very different. Everyone recognized this, even the Pharisees. John perhaps wanted to have a reassurance of his original revelation when he baptised Jesus.
    5) John wanted to know exactly what he was suppose to do at this time, while in prison. Knowledge and practical faith are at time in conflict with each other.
    6) John could be asking, "If you are the Messiah, then what are you doing? I hear a lot of reports about you that I don't understand. Those who are with me are having problems following you even though I tell them to because of what you are doing." John and all the prophets knew the Christ was suppose to suffer. Jesus didn't appear to be suffering at this time. All John heard was that Jesus was eating and drinking with tax collectors and "sinners".
    7) John had told people that Jesus was going to do some great work, especially against God's enemies. Now John was in prison, not a picnic in those days and Jesus was doing nothing to relieve him and other's from the suffering caused by God's enemies towards God's people.

* Facts:
    1) John had known at Jesus' baptism that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.
    2) John's ministry revolved around Jesus. John baptised him, he pointed everyone to Jesus, he preached about Jesus and Jesus' ministry, and many of his disciples left him and went to Jesus.
    3) Jesus had been giving many subtle evidence that he was the Messiah. However, he did not come out directly saying, "I am the Christ," at this point in his ministry.
    4) John had told his disciples speaking about Jesus, "He must become greater, and I lesser."
    5) John's disciples had kept an eye on Jesus' ministry especially since some of their fellow disciples had left John to be with Jesus.

>What message did he send back to John?

* Luke 7:21-23 "At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

* "At that very time" -Jesus answered John's request right away. Again his answer was not directly, "I am the Christ." It was another subtle answer to the question.

* "Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind." -Only the Messiah would do these kind of Miracles at the same time. Jesus displayed his power, a power that could only come from God.

* Jesus was encouraging John.

* Jesus answers all his people's questions. He encourages us and strengthens us if we ask. Jesus taught in a parable, "Ask and it will be given you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened." He also taught, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13)

>How does it answer John's question? (Isaiah 35:5-6)

* Isaiah 35:5-6 "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert."

* "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard:" -Jesus words and actions are enough for anyone then and now to make a decision about him.

* "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." -This gives us some insight to John's question at this time, not so much John falling away on account of the nature of Jesus' ministry, but John's disciples reaction to Jesus' ministry verses John's. Consider Jesus' words after they left. Jesus made it clear that John was firm in his faith in Jesus.

* All these people came to Jesus needing help. However, Jesus did not help them until John sent his disciples. God has a plan and a time for everything. Do you need healing? Do you pay for someone to be healed? Like the people with Jesus we have to sometimes wait by faith for the right time.

* "fall away on account of me" -Prejudice and preconceptions towards Jesus and his people. People had and have many prejudice about Jesus, his dress, his poverty, his social status, his hometown, his family, his disciples, his words, and his actions. Jesus himself stated he was a stumbling block to many. Yet to those who believe in him God gives the right to become children of God. (John 1)

* John and his disciples needed to know the scriptures well enough to see the answer in Jesus' actions and words. Without Bible study and understanding from the Holy Spirit, Jesus' answer is meaningless.

* Facts in Jesus' answer:
    1) Jesus is the Messiah (Christ). See above.
    2) Jesus preached to assure John the work of God, that is preaching was still being done even though John was in prison. (Luke 4:17-19; Isaiah 61:1-2) Also, he case out demons; thus attacks against God's enemies was being accomplished. Also, Jesus healed people of physical problems, rescuing them from life troubles.
    3) Jesus assured and John's disciples that John's ministry and person was blessed. Jesus said, "Bless is the man who..." John was indeed a very godly man.

* Luke 4:17-19 "The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

* Isaiah 61:1-2 "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,"

* Jesus didn't promise anything to John here. He only encouraged him.

* Jesus here was supporting that making one's personal conclusion on who he is needs to be made.

* Jesus' ministry was and is one of mercy and justice.

>6. What rhetorical questions did Jesus ask?

* Luke 7:24-28 "After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: "'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

* "What did you go out into the desert to see?" -Jesus asked this three times. Paraphrased Jesus was asking, "What was your attraction to John?" The answer, "He preached the word of God." Jesus comes back to this point in verses 33-35.

* Jesus bragged about John, but only after his disciples had left. This gives us more in site to John's motive in sending two disciples to Jesus to ask a question on his Messiahship.

* Malachi 3:1-5 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud labours of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty."

* Jesus saw the work of God through and in John. We should also recognize when God is working in and through others.

Middle East Reeds

* See a middle eastern man in a boat gathering reeds to the right.

>What do they reveal about John?

* "A reed swayed by the wind? -John had firm faith. He didn't falter in faith because of people's opinions and words about him. He didn't falter under the power of the Jewish religious leaders. He didn't falter under the political power of Herod.

* "A man dressed in fine clothes?" -John didn't falter because of the type and location of him ministry.

* "prophet" -Part of the ministry of a prophet is to repeat God's words to people. Another part is to bring people to God.

* "more than a prophet" -John baptised Jesus. Something no other prophet had the privileged to do. John's message about the Messiah was clearer than any prophet before him. No other prophet's ministry was prophesied before his arrival like John's was.

* "fall away on account of me" -Prejudice and preconceptions towards Jesus and his people. People had and have many prejudice about Jesus, his dress, his poverty, his social status, his hometown, his family, his disciples, his words, and his actions. Jesus himself stated he was a stumbling block to many. Yet to those who believe in him God gives the right to become children of God. (John 1)

* "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John" -When Jesus here said, "born of women" he is making a statement about those in the kingdom of God. All prophets were given messages from God, usually through the Holy Spirit. Those in the kingdom of God are given eternal presence of the Holy Spirit. John was greater than Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and all the prophets before him. "Born of women" do not include Jesus nor the angels.

* "yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." -In order to understand Jesus' comment consider what makes a person great in God's eyes. God defines our greatness. Our relationship with Jesus defines us. Those who have a great love relationship with Jesus are great.

* "in the kingdom of God" -Jesus often preached about the kingdom of God. I wrote a lot about the nature of the kingdom of God in the manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" also found on this web site. John wrote, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13)

* We can't change a person's heart. Only God can do it. If a person isn't willing and able to follow Jesus all we can do is continue to point them to Jesus and pray.

* We can learn a lot about John's ministry was this passage. John was a messenger, a preparer. He kept God and God's mission first.

* John wasn't a small man in God's eyes. John wasn't a victim of the evil generation he lived with and preached to.

* There is something more important than following John, entry into the kingdom.

* Romans 10:4 "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

* "kingdom of God" -Jesus is the Majestic Prophet Priest King. His kingdom is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God should be no small topic for those who belong to it. The phrase the Kingdom of God” and the Kingdom of Heaven is repeated almost three hundred times in both Old and New Testaments. It is referred to 1,845 times in the Old Testament. Many of Jesus' parables concern the Kingdom of God. Jesus stated that he preached the good news of the Kingdom of God from town to town. (Luke 4:43, 8:1, 9:11) Jesus sent out his disciples to preach about the Kingdom of God. (Luke 9:1) Jesus often told people, “The Kingdom of God is near you,” or at least something similar to it. (Matt. 12:28, Mark 1:15, Mark 12:34, Luke 10:9, 11, 20) When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, the second subject (after honoring God our Father) he told them to pray for was The Kingdom of God. “Thy kingdom come,” he taught his disciples to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

* J. Dwight Pentecost in this book Things to Come distinguishes between four Biblical uses of the term Kingdom of Heaven; God's universal kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, the millennial Davidic kingdom, and the mystery form of the kingdom (in Matthew 13). He wrote,
   “ a) The spiritual kingdom, which is closely related with God's universal kingdom, is composed of the elect of all the ages, who have experienced a new birth by the power of the Holy Spirit. This kingdom cannot be entered apart from such a new birth. [He continues with a long list of support verses.]
    b) The millennial kingdom is declared to be a literal, earthy kingdom over which Christ rules from David's throne in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.
    c) The mystery form of the kingdom (in Matthew 13) brings us a concept entirely distinct from the preceding two. That God was going to establish a kingdom on the earth was no mystery. [He continues with the history of man's continual rejection of God's sovereignty.] The mystery was the fact that when the One in whom this program was to be realized was publicly presented He would be rejected and an age would fall between His rejection and the fulfillment of God's purpose of sovereignty at His second advent. The mystery form of the kingdom, then, has reference to the age between two advents of Christ. The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven describe the conditions that prevail on the earth in that interim while the king is absent. These mysteries thus relate this present age to the eternal purpose of God in regard to His kingdom this mystery form of the kingdom is composed of saved and unsaved alike (wheat and tares, good and bad fish).”

* The above two points were taken from the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires.

* The apostles' letters reveals the greatness of those in the kingdom of God.

* Below are twenty-four realities of what God did for us, the kingdom of God because of what Jesus did for us:
    Romans 3:24  -We are justified (declared "not guilty" of sin).
    Romans 8:1  -No condemnation awaits us.
    Romans 8:2  -We are set free from the law of sin and death.
    1 Corinthians 1:2  -We are sanctified (made holy) in Jesus Christ.
    1 Corinthians 1:30  -We are pure and holy in Christ..
    1 Corinthians 15:22  -We will be made alive at the resurrection.
    2 Corinthians 5:17  -We are new persons.
    2 Corinthians 5:21  -We are made right with God.
    Galatians 3:28  -We are one in Christ with all other believers.
    Ephesians 1:3  -We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
    Ephesians 1:4  -We are holy and without fault.
    Ephesians 1:5-6  -We are adopted as God's children
    Ephesians 1:7  -Our sins are taken away, and we are forgiven.
    Ephesians 1:10-11  -We will be brought under Christ's authority.
    Ephesians 1:13  -We are marked as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit.
    Ephesians 2:6  -We have been raised up to sit with Christ in the heavenly realms.
    Ephesians 2:10  -We are God's masterpiece.
    Ephesians 2:13  -We have been brought near to God.
    Ephesians 3:6  -We share in the promise in Christ.
    Ephesians 3:12  -We can come with freedom and confidence into God's presence
    Romans 5:29-30  -We are members of Christ's body, the church.
    Colossians 2:10  -We have been given fullness in Christ.
    Colossians 2:11  -We are set free from our sinful nature.
    2 Timothy. 2:10  -We will have eternal glory.

IV. Jesus and John Were Rejected (29-35)

New Testament Jewish Sects

>7. What did John's baptism signify? (Acts 19:4-7)

* Acts 19:4-7 "Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all."

* John's baptism was a baptism of repentance.

* Prepare people's hearts for Jesus, the Messiah.

* The people changed their hearts and minds because of John's ministry.

* Verses 29 and 30 is a definition of "generations" in verse 31. In other words "generations" is the leaders at the time.

* Some state that verses 29 and 30 are inserted by Luke; others that they were part of Jesus' teaching.

>Who had been baptized by John and how did this affect their response to Jesus?

* Luke 7:29 "(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John."

* "All the people" -The average Jew was baptised by John. John's baptism on a major route between Galilee and Jerusalem meant that many heard his words and were baptised.

* "when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right" -Jesus words about John (and every word he spoke) made them understand.

* Repent means to change.

* "God's ways" -The people acknowledged that man's ways are not the same as God's ways. and God's ways are not the way of man. They accepted that God has his ways and they are right, implying that man's ways are wrong.

>Why?

* "because they had been baptized by John."

* Here we get a good brief explanation of John's preparatory work.

>What did they mean by saying, "God's way is right."?

* God's way is the right way to live. God's way is the right way to salvation. God's way is the right way to the kingdom of God. God's way is the right way of salvation.

* When Jesus spoke and acted the average Jew saw the right way, God's way. John had told the people that they would see and learn God's way through Jesus.

* Being that there is a right way, then there is also a wrong way.

* John 14:6-7 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

>8. How did the Pharisees and experts in the law reject God's purpose for themselves?

* Luke 7:30 "But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

* They didn't believe Jesus' teachings.

* Those who rejected John also rejected Jesus.

* The Pharisees followed the letter of the law while rejecting God's purpose for them. They couldn't find anything to repent of when John preached repentance. They couldn't find anything greater than what they had when they heard Jesus preach the kingdom of God.

>Why?

* "because they had not been baptized by John." -They did not believe God sent John.

* Matthew 21:24-27 "Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism--where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?" They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'From men'--we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Then he said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

* They were to proud to accept it. They loved the world and all it has to offer. They loved their power and position. They loved themselves, not God.

>9. To whom did Jesus compare the people of this generation?

* Luke 7:31-32 ""To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'"

* "this generation" -The leaders.

* "compare" -A parable or symmetry.

* "children sitting in the marketplace" -Children often were safer then than now. These children would have been the children of the either buying or selling. They moved around freely in the marketplace without worry of being taken off or beaten.

* "calling out to each other" -This apparently was what children said to other children in that day when they would not join them in games.

* "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance" -Referring to Jesus' ministry.

* "we sang a dirge, and you did not cry." -Referring to John's ministry.

>Why did they reject John and Jesus?

* Luke 7:33-34 "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and 'sinners.'"

* Outward appearance influences people of the world.

* God tried all pays to plead with them, extreme teachings. Yet there was no way to reach them.

* They made excuses to any of God's servants and to all of God's ways instead of yielding to God. They fought and argued with God. They criticized John and Jesus.

* They justified themselves in their minds to themselves, and with their lips to others. Verses 33 and 34 are their rationalizations as to why they were right and John and Jesus were wrong.

>What does this reveal?

* The hearts of the religious leaders were hard. They had made up their minds and were not going to change.

* They didn't take note of anything that God was serious about. They were not serious in conscience of soul.

* They were not logical.

* They looked at outward and not inward.

* They were childish considering the negative things of children, not knowing and not wise, immature. They were not grown up in their thinking and acting. Children can be bullish with their parents good suggestions.

>10. Who are the children of wisdom?

* Luke 7:35 "But wisdom is proved right by all her children."

* Those who accept God's way.

* Widsom is in God's nature.

* This is a summation of what and how one could see that John's and Jesus' way of working was right.

>How can we be children of wisdom?

* Repentantly and humbly accept God's way.

* Respond to God's will and way.

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