Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
August 24, 2008
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:
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. John's Question(s).
- A. Are You "the Coming One"?
- 1. In the records of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the Evangelist, John the Baptist is recorded as announcing the "coming of One" Who was "the Lord". In John's record (1:15) we find John the Baptist saying, "This was He of whom I spake, 'He that cometh after me is preferred before me for He was before me'." And in 1:29-34 of that same record we find John claiming to have "known" that Jesus was the One Coming by reason of the descent of the Spirit upon Him at His baptism by John.
- 2. In Luke's record in our present text, we find Jesus uttering a "blessing" upon those who "find no occasion of stumbling in Me". This indicates a very gentle reproof that puts John in the wrong.
- 3. In our present text, Jesus simply repeats the works of which John was told and tells his disciples to go tell John what they have seen and heard. He does nothing "new" to answer John's question. This, also, represents an insistence by Jesus that John permit the evidence to stand without confusion by his personal circumstances. This is another, softer, reproof.
- 4. In John 10:24-26 the "Jews" say to Jesus, "How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly." And Jesus responds, "I told you, and ye believe not...because you are not of my sheep." Thus, there was "confusion" about His identity, but it should not have extended to John the Baptist.
- B. Are we to look for another?
- 1. The word for "another" typically means "another of the same kind". So John asked if there was to be two Jesus-like persons to come. This, in the theological setting of Israel, was not too far off target in that there was an active teaching in that system of two Messiahs -- one Messiah, son of Judah; and the other Messiah, son of Joseph. But, John was a major prophet of God. If he was not "straight" on this issue, how was anyone to be? This may well be why Jesus had not found faith like that of the centurion in all of Israel: too much error in the system for too long a time. Sometimes outsiders see with a greater clarity than those immersed in the system.
- 2. But, again, Jesus gently rebuked His precursor. There was nothing legitimate in John's questioning.
- II. Luke's Double Recording.
- A. Luke deliberately recorded both John's charge to his disciples and their execution of that charge verbatim. This meant, for Luke, a deliberately doubled record of exactly the same words. This means that Luke intended to focus his reader's attention upon the questions.
- B. There are three things going on in the text.
- 1. The first is the historicity of the record. Luke gave us an accurate record of both actions and words.
- 2. The second is the intention of the record. Luke intended to compel his reader(s) to see the heart of the issue: Is Jesus of Nazareth "the One"?
- 3. The third is the deliberate insertion of the "John material" between the clear-sighted faith of the centurion and the significant love of the woman who was forgiven much. This is an absolutely crucial issue. It is not enough to have an accurate record. It is not enough to have to face the question of Jesus' identity. Unless one comes to the kind of "love" that drives a clear-eyed "faith" (Galatians 5:6), most of what can be gained is lost altogether. Jesus did not come to simply clear our records of their evil so that we could escape the judgment of God. He came to build His kingdom by reaching mankind with Love/Faith issues in a setting of sufficient clarity to enable inheritance in that kingdom. In the grace of God, He is willing to accept even the smallest measure of "faith" as the basis for nullifying the wrath that we have been stacking up for years (Romans 2:5). He will welcome those, like the thief on the cross, whose entire lives have been lived apart from His Love/Faith system, but who exercise the smallest measure of faith at the last moment (Matthew 17:20). But, He will pour out a vast quantity of blessing upon those who, like Saul of Tarsus, live their lives under that "authority" which the centurion recognized with great clarity and that "love" which the woman who was forgiven of much saw with great clarity (1 Corinthians 2:9). God does not begrudge the efficiency of the death of His son to those who squander their opportunity by living for themselves until it has caught up to them, but He does see and feel the pain of such blindness and loss.