John the Baptizer’s disciples were following Jesus, witnessing the miracles and listening to His teaching. After collecting their observations, they went to John, who was imprisoned because of his criticism of Herod Antipas and his wife, Herodias. John sends a question back to Jesus by way of his disciples, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (NIV) Jesus’ reply to this question is wonderful for all of us to hear because by it Jesus reassures John that, “Yes! The Messiah has come!”
After John’s disciples depart, Jesus turns to the crowd and tells them about John, affirming that John was the one foretold by the prophets who would prepare the way for the Messiah.
Then Jesus throws us a curve, saying that the least in the kingdom of God was greater than John. Most believe that what Jesus meant was that John would not live to see this side of the Cross. We are more blessed than John because we have the Cross as our witness to the truth that John preached.
Though they were saved, like us, by grace through faith, John and all believers before him did not have the blessing of seeing exactly how God would accomplish that salvation.
Luke says that those who understood John’s baptism of repentance believed Jesus’ words, but those who did not accept John also rejected Jesus’ words.
Jesus then compares the religious establishment to children who become angry when others do not readily agree with them. They were angry because Jesus and John seemed to reject them and their religious laws and false beliefs about salvation. On the other hand, no matter what Jesus and John had done in their own ministries, the religious leaders could find fault. John and Jesus were different, yet both were rejected out of jealousy and fear.
Today many continue to reject Jesus for similar reasons: fear of turning their lives over to God; wanting to control their own salvation; wanting to control their own lives; to be “beholden” to nobody, even God. People in fact want to be their own gods. As believers, we have a task much like John’s—to let people know that the Savior has come and will come again.
Have you invited a friend to attend a regular Bible study with you? (A message from your Iowa District West Christian Education Committee)
Third Sunday in Advent Luke 7:18-35
1. According to vs. 26-28 how does Jesus affirm the person and message of John?
2. How did John and others know that Jesus was the One sent from God (vs. 22)? How do we know that Jesus is the One sent from God for us?
3. How did different groups react to John’s message and Jesus’ ministry (vs. 29-30)? For Family Reflection
4. Are you greater than John the Baptist (vs. 28)? What makes us great?
5. What eventually happened to John the Baptist (see Mark 6:14- 29)?
6. John the Baptist was the last prophet to prepare the way for Jesus. Who are some of the other Old Testament prophets? What was their message? What can we learn from these