Have you ever wondered if God really cares? Are you tempted to doubt God’s love at times? How often do you look for the approval of man instead of God?
The Passage: Matt 11:2-19; Luke 7:18-35
- Luke 7:18 – What did John’s disciples report to Him? (Luke 6:17-49; Luke 7:1-10; Luke 7:11-17)
- Luke 7:19-20 Why was John asking the question? (Luke 5:33-39)
- Luke 7:21-23 How did Jesus respond to John?
- Luke 7:24-28 Contrast the “people’s opinion of John vs God’s opinion of John
What was God doing? Why did He have this written down?
The religious leaders really didn’t like what Jesus was doing. While they heard His messianic claims, the actions they saw didn’t line up with what they pictured the Messiah doing, therefore they refused to believe in Him. It seems John’s disciples had bought into that mentality as well. As they reported what they saw and heard, it caused John to doubt, and question whether He had been pointing people to the right person or not. Jesus assured John of the truth of who He was, and showed God’s love for John, even with his doubts.
As I ask these questions of myself, I encourage you to ask them too.
- What can I learn from this? What is God saying to me and my life from this passage?
God wants to help us, as He did John, to not allow human reasoning to hinder us from living at peace and serving Him with joy, because of how we see God Himself at work! AS well as knowing the truth of how deeply we are loved by God. (John 17:23, Luke 7:28)
- What do I need become more aware of?
•How much have I bought into the world’s thinking? (What the religious leaders were looking for) Compare Luke 5:33-39
•What does God think of me? Does He think of me like He did of John, even with his doubts?
•What would knowing God thinks of me that way affect my obedience to Him (blessed is he who is not ashamed of me Luke 7:23)
- How does God want me to engage with this? What does He want me to do because of what He is saying here?
•Remind myself of what God thinks of me. Here’s a section of my prayer guide book:
By faith, I choose today to count on the following truths. In Christ, you have declared that I am;
- Completely forgiven: Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace
- Not Condemned: Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus
- Accepted: Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved
- Complete: Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him,
- Child of God and Joint heir: Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
- Dead to sin and self: Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
- New creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
- Eternal life: Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Sealed with the Holy Spirit: Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise
•Take worldly thoughts and lies captive and make my thoughts obedient to God’s truth (2 Cor 10:5)
The Power; Implement and Integrate
The power to change is in the implementation and integration. We can talk all we want, make lots of plans, but until we do something about it, and develop habits that integrate those truths, we will never change. What is the one thing I need to do as a result of this study today?
I have written several outlines as a daily prayer guide. (like the excerpt pasted above) This is reminding me to go back and review them, and work on being more consistent in meditating and praying through those things.
Verse by verse insights:
Luke 7:18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him.
What were the things John’s disciples reported? Let’s look back at the last few chapters in Luke.
- Luke 7:11-17 the healing of the woman from Nain
- Luke 7:1-10 The healing of the Centurion’s servant just from His spoken word… and the impact this had on the religious leaders
- Luke 6:17-49 Jesus’ sermon that poked holes in the Jewish Pharisaical law, and what Jesus was telling the religious leaders.
That’s just in the last 2 chapters. Remember the conversation back in Luke 5:33-39? The Pharisees were arguing with Jesus about fasting. “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisee, but yours eat and drink.” It seems like John’s disciples were confused themselves. It makes you wonder how the conversation went as they reported these things to John. Had they maybe bought into the idea the Pharisees had? “Yeah, he is healing people, and doing miracles, but he eats with sinners! He even chose a tax collector to be one of his followers! How can this guy be the Messiah?”
Luke 7:19-20 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ ”
When John’s disciples told him all these things, John felt the need to investigate. A question that may have been going through John’s head was, “What was the Messiah supposed to do?” What had John described of the Messiah? Let’s look back at the early days of John’s ministry.
Luke 3:15-18 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.
John foretold judgement. John refers again to the coming judgement… Jesus is going to separate those who believe from those who don’t. Just like Simeon had said too. What was Jesus doing? Healing and being gracious to publicans and sinners.
John foretold of the coming of the Holy Spirit., this baptism that people would receive. What was that, and where was that? Jesus was supposed to separate those who believe from those who don’t. Just like Simeon had said too.
As John reflected on the reports from his disciples, it caused him to question if Jesus was really fulfilling what he thought Jesus, as the Messiah would do.
Luke 7:21-23 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Jesus final words to John’s disciples were, “Blessed is he who does not fall away on account of me.” David’s paraphrase, “Blessed is he who does not give up on account of one’s own expectation of what God is or isn’t doing.” John had to face the stark contrast between reality and HIS expectation of what God was doing. Ultimately, God’s will cost him his life. Even Jesus said He came to do the will of His Father, not His own will. The Father’s will for Jesus cost Him His life as well. Can we expect any less of our lives? His work is NOT to do MY will, but to do His will. Our Father KNOWS what is best. Our Father has at his disposal all the power in the universe; he is certainly able to do what is best. Our Father has a love that sent His son to the cross on our behalf, a love that loves us as much as He loves His own Son (John 17:23) and a love that delivered his Son up for us all, and now, through His son desires to freely give us all things? (Rom 8:32) What are these “all things? I dare say, they are NOT earthly rewards.
Don’t let human reasoning destroy the joy of living in peace with God’s reality for you today! After all, God’s opinion of you is far greater than you think. (John 17:23, Luke 7:28)
Luke 7:24-28 When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ 28I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
What do you imagine God thinks of you? Can you imagine God saying something like this about you? How does Jesus’ description of what God thinks of John compare to what the world, or the religious leaders thought of John?
- What did they see in the wilderness? Certainly not a man dressed in nice clothes like someone who just came from a king’s court! He was an outcast. Dressed in camel’s clothes and eating bugs!
- But God said, “among those born of woman none is greater than John!
Man looks on the outward, God looks at the heart! (1 Sam 16:7)
Luke 7:29-30 When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.