Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 7:18-35

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Chapter 7:18-35

John and Jesus: One Mean Tag Team

  • John's disciples tell him about everything Jesus has accomplished. Remember that John is in prison (3:19-20), but apparently he can receive visitors.
  • John sends two of his disciples to Jesus and asks point blank: "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Even John wants to be sure that his own prophecy is being fulfilled through Jesus.
  • The disciples ask Jesus this just as he's busy healing, exorcizing, and granting sight to the blind. You might as well ask an NBA basketball player if he can dunk.
  • Jesus tells them to inform John what he's doing: the blind see, the crippled walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, corpses revive, and the poor open their morning papers to read good news.
  • So yeah, he's the one.
  • Jesus adds that happiness belongs to anyone who's not offended by him.
  • John's disciples head off—John will be able to put two and two together.
  • Jesus offers his own very high opinion of John, and then he asks the crowds rhetorically what they went out to the desert to see. A prophet, duh.
  • John is the guy that scripture was talking about when it says, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you" (7:27). Go and read it for yourself in Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1.
  • John surpasses everyone "born of women" (7:28), i.e., everyone.
  • But in God's kingdom, even the least is greater than he is. Wait, what? That's what you might call a paradox.
  • The people and the tax collectors are all psyched about this, since they had been baptized by John (rewind to 3:3-14).
  • The religious highbrows, on the other hand, weren't baptized by John and are said to have "rejected God's purpose" (7:30). Warning: Don't reject God's purpose.
  • Jesus compares the people of his generation to children playing in the marketplace, shouting to each other, "We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep" (7:32 NRSV). The people who refuse to play along are a bunch of spoilsports. 
  • John doesn't eat and is a teetotaler, but he's accused of being demon-possessed.
  • Then the Son of Man comes partying hearty, but he's accused of being an overeater and alcoholic, the best friend of bar hoppers and the IRS.
  • Lose-lose.

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