Luke 7:18-30

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

November 15, 2000


Jesus has been teaching (Luke 6) and performing miracles.  When He was in Capernaum, He healed the servant of a Roman centurion by simply speaking the word.  He didn’t even have to go into the guy’s house and touch the servant.  He just spoke the word and the servant was healed.  When Jesus arrived at the little village of Nain, He encountered a funeral procession.  A lonely widow woman was burying her only begotten son, with a crowd of people following her to the graveyard.  But she never got there.  Jesus had compassion on her, and without her even asking, Jesus reached out, touched the funeral bier to stop the procession, and called the man back to life.

News of these events spread not only throughout Galilee in the north where these events were occurring, but the news even spread throughout the south in Judaea, where John the Baptist had been at work (Luke 7:17).

:18-23  Message to John

:18  And the disciples of John showed him of all these things.

showedapaggello – to bring tidings (from a person or a thing), bring word, report; to proclaim, to make known openly, declare

John’s disciples fill John in on the events that had been happening up north in Galilee.

: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?

look forprosdokao – to expect (whether in thought, in hope, or in fear); to look for, wait for

Why was John wondering?

Here is John the Baptist, a great preacher, prophet, and the forerunner to Jesus.  John prepared the people for Jesus.  John understood at the beginning of Jesus' ministry that Jesus was the Messiah.

John 1:36-AV And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Many have tried to explain away this passage,

But the plain, unmistakable inference of the text is that John's faith wavered. The Bible does not represent the saints as free from imperfection.
John the Baptist had been in prison for a while, and was starting to have doubts about Jesus.  By Luke 9, John will have been beheaded by Herod.


Doubts are common

I think it’s natural that we all have doubts from time to time.  Especially when we are going through tough times, being in prison like John.
Elisha was living in Samaria when it was under siege by the Syrian army.  The city was in a desperate famine, with people even eating their children to survive.  The king in Samaria was blaming all his problems on Elisha, and sent messengers to Elisha to have him killed.

(2 Ki 6:32-33 KJV)  But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him? {33} And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?

(2 Ki 7:1-2 KJV)  Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. {2} Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.

This messenger couldn’t believe the incredible thing that Elisha was predicting.  It was just TOO good to be true.

And yet as you read on, four leprous men venture out of the city and find that in the night the entire Syrian army had fled, leaving their tents full of food behind them.  And as the entire city found out, there was a stampede out of the city, and this messenger of the king was trampled to death.  He saw, but he didn’t receive.

Doubt is common.  We will all go through it at times.  Even someone as great as John the Baptist had doubts.  But he didn’t stop there.  He did something about his doubts.


Look to Jesus

What John is doing is asking questions.  He wants to know more about Jesus.
If you are having struggles with trusting the Lord, look CLOSER at Jesus, don’t drift away.
The more you find out about Jesus, the more you will find that you can trust Him.
Make a point of reading your Bible regularly.  Learn to pray more.  Come to church regularly.

: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.

he curedtherapeuo – to serve, do service; to heal, cure, restore to health

infirmitiesnosos – disease, sickness

plaguesmastix – a whip, scourge; metaph. a scourge, plague; a calamity, misfortune, esp. sent by God to discipline or punish

he gavecharizomai – “he graced”; to do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify; to show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent; to grant forgiveness, to pardon; to give graciously, give freely, bestow; to forgive; graciously to restore one to another; to preserve for one a person in peril

: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.

tellapaggello – to bring tidings (from a person or a thing), bring word, report; to proclaim, to make known openly, declare

seeanablepo – to look up; to recover (lost) sight

lamecholos – lame; deprived of a foot, maimed

cleansedkatharizo – to make clean, cleanse; a leper, to cleanse by curing; to free from defilement of sin and from faults; to purify from wickedness; to consecrate by cleansing or purifying

deafkophos – blunted, dull; blunted (or lamed) in tongue, dumb; blunted, dull in hearing; deaf

poorptochos – reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms; destitute of wealth, influence, position, honour; lowly, afflicted, destitute of the Christian virtues and eternal riches; helpless, powerless to accomplish an end

the gospel is preachedeuaggelizo – to bring good news, to announce glad tidings; of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings; in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation


Answer your doubts with God’s Word.

Jesus’ reply to John is a the combination of several Scriptures:
(Isa 35:4-6 KJV)  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. {5} Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. {6} Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
(Isa 61:1-2 KJV)  The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; {2} To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

:23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

blessedmakarios – blessed, happy

shall not be offendedskandalizo – to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend; to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority; since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed  to cause one displeasure at a thing; to make indignant; to be displeased, indignant

Don’t trip over Jesus.

You’re going to find that Jesus is a big rock in the middle of your path of life.

What are you going to do with Jesus?
Is He going to trip you up?  Or are you going to trust Him?

:24-30 About John the Baptist

:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

messengersaggelos – a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God

This is the word often translated “angel” (179/186 times) in the New Testament.  It’s main idea is “messenger”.  An “angel” is a messenger from God.

the peopleochlos – a crowd; a casual collection of people; a multitude of men who have flocked together in some place; a throng

went ye outexerchomai – to go or come forth of

wildernesseremos – solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited; a desert, wilderness

to seetheaomai – to behold, look upon, view attentively, contemplate (often used of public shows); of important persons that are looked on with admiration; to view, take a view of; in the sense of visiting, meeting with a person; to learn by looking, to see with the eyes, to perceive

a reedkalamos – a reed; a staff made of a reed, a reed staff; a measuring reed or rod; a writer’s reed, a pen

windanemos – wind, a violent agitation and stream of air; a very strong tempestuous wind

shakensaleuo – a motion produced by winds, storms, waves, etc; to agitate or shake; to cause to totter

The reed of Egypt and Palestine is a very tall cane, growing twelve feet high, and is easily bent by the wind. John was not like the reed. He could not be bent by every breath of applause or displeasure.

John wasn't the kind of guy who would preach every new doctrine that came blowing into town.  He was a rugged, straight shooting kind of guy.

:25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.

softmalakos – soft, soft to the touch; metaph. in a bad sense; effeminate

raimenthimation – a garment (of any sort); garments, i.e. the cloak or mantle and the tunic; the upper garment, the cloak or mantle

clothedamphiennumi – to put on, to clothe

apparelledhimatismos – clothing, apparel

gorgeouslyendoxos – held in good or in great esteem, of high repute; illustrious, honourable, esteemed; notable, glorious; splendid

delicatelytruphe – softness, effeminate, luxurious living

livehuparcho – to begin below, to make a beginning; to be

kings’ courtsbasileion – the royal palace

The people knew what they had gone to John looking for.

:26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.

a prophetprophetes – in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things; one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation

much moreperissos – exceeding some number or measure or rank or need; over and above, more than is necessary, superadded; exceeding abundantly, supremely


The message is more important than the trappings

People came to John because of his message, not because of his appearance.
I think we ought to try and do all things well, including taking care of our appearance, taking care of the church’s appearance, etc.
But the bottom line is, do we have the message correct?
I have seen guys in the ministry become discouraged because people aren’t coming to their church or their Bible Study.

And I’ve heard all sorts of excuses as to why they think people aren’t coming.  I’ve heard people say that if they had more publicity that people would come.  I’ve heard others say that if they had a better building people would come.


I think we ought to look at Pastor Chuck and learn a lesson. During the days of the Jesus’ movement, people didn’t flock to Costa Mesa because of:

The building.  For a while they were meeting in a yucky looking tent.  It got cold in the evenings, at least if you weren’t seated in front of the huge gas heaters.  Even when they built their sanctuary, it wasn’t a building that people would consider on their top ten list of architectural wonders, like the Crystal Cathedral. 

The publicity.  You heard about Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa because of what God was doing in people’s lives, not because they sent you a flyer in the mail.

People came because of the message.

:27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

messengeraggelos – a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God

which shall preparekataskeuazo – to furnish, equip, prepare, make ready; of one who makes anything ready for a person or thing; of builders, to construct, erect, with the included idea of adorning and equipping with all things necessary

Jesus is quoting from:

(Isa 40:3 KJV)  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(Mal 3:1 KJV)  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.


Be a preparer

I think that we can be like John the Baptist in a way.
We can’t save people, but we can help smooth the way for them to come to Jesus.

:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

greatermeizon – greater, larger, elder, stronger

leastmikros – small, little; of size: hence of stature, of length; of rank or influence

Up to this point, outside of Jesus Himself, John was the greatest, most moral person who ever lived.

Yet being born again places a person in an even greater place with God than John had at that point.

John still had his own sins, great as he was.
Those in the “kingdom of God” are those who have recognized that they are sinful, and have allowed Jesus to pay for their sins by His death on the cross.

:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

publicanstelones – a tax gatherer, collector of taxes or tolls, one employed by a publican or farmer general in the collection of taxes. The tax collectors were as a class, detested not only by the Jews, but by other nations also, both on account of their employment and of the harshness, greed, and deception, with which they did their job.

justifieddikaioo – to render righteous or such he ought to be; to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered; to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

They declared that God was right by their actions.

(Luke 7:29 NIV)  …acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John.
(Luke 7:29 NLT)  … agreed that God's plan was right, for they had been baptized by John.

being baptizedbaptizo – to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk); to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe; to overwhelm.  The verb is an aorist participle.  They had been baptized at a point in time in the past.

The people that had heard Jesus talk about John the Baptist agreed that Jesus was right, and that God had been using John the Baptist because they were people who had been baptized by John.


Leading people to Jesus

This was John’s whole ministry, getting people to Jesus.
And now most of this crowd (vs.29, oxlos, “multitude”) of people that were following Jesus had been people who had been prepared by John’s ministry.  They had been following John, but now they were followers of Jesus.

:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

lawyersnomikos – pertaining to the law, one learned in the law; in the NT an interpreter and teacher of the Mosaic law.  These were not lawyers in the sense of what we think of lawyers today, working within the secular judicial system.  These were men who were experts in the Law of Moses.  These were religious lawyers.


Speaking of lawyers …
A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial-a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.” The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?” She again replied, “Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him.” At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, “If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!

rejectedatheteo – to do away with, to set aside, disregard; to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, frustrate; to reject, to refuse, to slight

counselboule – counsel, purpose


Not all will believe

It’s hard when people won’t respond.  It’s hard when we’ve prayed and prayed and they stay cold.
Don’t quit sharing Jesus.  But understand that not everyone is going to believe.