Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
August 17, 2008
18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
1901 ASV Translation:
18 And the disciples of John told him of all these things.
19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to the Lord, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another?
20 And when the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another?
21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and on many that were blind he bestowed sight.
22 And he answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things which ye have seen and heard; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good tidings preached to them.
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me.
- I. His Move to John.
- A. In the larger picture...
- A. His birth was announced in 1:5-25.
- B. His birth occurred in 1:57-80.
- C. His ministry was highlighted in 3:1-20.
- D. There is no further focus upon John until this current text.
- B. In the immediate picture...
- A. John, who was put into prison by Herod (3:20), is presented as "questioning".
- B. Jesus raises the question of John's identity after his disciples leave Him to return to John with His response.
- C. The inescapable focus: John's question reveals a profound level of theological/biblical confusion that beggars the developing facts.
- D. Luke must have wished to expose the complications of "faith".
- A. The centurion of 7:1-10 exercised a "faith" that was superior to all the "faith" Jesus had found in Israel.
- B. The raising of the young man in Nain was, in a real sense, a raising of the bar in terms of a "demonstration" of the "authority" that lay at the roots of the centurion's perspective. Restoring a dead person to life at the funeral is no mean feat in anyone's book. The report of this event trumped everything that had gone before.
- C. This "evidentiary" build-up makes the question of John even the more difficult from the perspective of a large "overlook" (Luke's record from 1:5 to this text). But Luke obviously felt that it was a necessary issue. How is it that "the" prophet was unclear regarding Jesus?
- 1. That the people said, "A great prophet has arisen among us", sets the stage for the reference to "the" prophet.
- 2. That this was the conclusion of the people in view of the centurion's better grasp of the "point" of Jesus' works indicates that "faith" is a complex and, perhaps, extraordinarily difficult development.
- 3. That the next non-John element in Luke's record is the "love" of the woman of the street who was "forgiven much, so she loved much" may well be Luke's way of weaving the difficulty of "faith" into the roots of that difficulty -- values gone awry.
- 4. We must, however, understand that Luke had the terrific advantage of both hindsight and a greater theological clarity developed over years of association with Paul in an historical setting in which God was making a "mystery" apparent by the outworking of facts in history. Luke was selectively recording. This means he had the luxury of omitting enormous blocks of both time and events that might tend in the direction of "muddling" clarity.
- 5. In any case, the works of God depend upon Him for any "clarity" that anyone ends up having. In a very real sense, it is a major miracle that anyone believes accurately because the aggression against the Truth has been multi-pronged and of long duration under the reality of "wearing away" by constant attack. If Adam and Eve could not keep things "clear" with only one restraint imposed upon them, what of the myriads of their children who live in the complex, multi-millenium, aftermath of their failure?