Morning Bible Study
Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.
He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.
In writing his book, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel
of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.
Jesus’ ministry has begun, and the people have been amazed not just at the
things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
Two weeks ago we saw how Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion.
Last week we saw Jesus raise a young man from the dead.
We ended last week with:
(Luke 7:17 NKJV) And this
report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.
7:18-23 John’s Questions
:18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things.
John’s disciples reported to John on the events that had been happening up
north in Galilee.
:19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them
to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
:19 Are You the Coming One
This is a strange question coming from John the Baptist.
It sounds like he has his doubts about Jesus.
After Jesus’ baptism, John was the first one who proclaimed…
(John 1:29b NKJV) …“Behold!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
This is perhaps a year later, so what happened?
Matthew tells us that John’s questions came because he was sitting in
prison, put there by Herod. (Mat. 11:2-3)
John is wondering if he got the “Messiah” thing right, then why is he in
Doubt is normal
We talk a lot about how important it is to have faith.
What we don’t often talk about is how normal it is to go through periods of
Even Luke Skywalker had moments of doubt.
A lack of faith is often why we fail, but it’s not
abnormal. We all have periods where we
Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament and is held up
by James as being an example of a man of faith and prayer. (Jam. 5:17)
Elijah was a man who also had struggles with doubt.
He was the prophet who called on God to send fire from heaven, and God
answered with fire. (1Ki. 18)
But when Queen Jezebel decided she wanted Elijah killed, this
great man of faith ran off and hid in a cave, wondering why God had abandoned
him (1Ki 19:4, 14)
John’s doubts came while sitting in prison
For you …
It might be because something has not turned out the way
you expected to.
It might be because you’ve been listening to the questions
of some atheist and you haven’t taken the time to do your homework. There are very real answers.
It might be because you feel like you’ve sinned too much
and failed God somehow.
We all go through doubts.
What I want to assure you of is that you don’t have to
stay in your doubt.
Watch how Jesus will respond to John.
:20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us
to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ”
:21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil
spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
:22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have
seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the
poor have the gospel preached to them.
:23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
:22 Go and tell John
Jesus gives John the answer he needs about his doubts. Assurance comes from two things:
1. His Works
Jesus wants John to know about the things that He has been doing.
You too need to take time to think about what kinds of things Jesus
Luke compiled evidence from written accounts as well as documented eye
The four gospels are historical documents that all tell the same story –
Jesus did amazing things.
of John – Four Miracles
Jesus is no ordinary person.
John calls the miraculous works of Jesus “signs” and says,
20:30–31 NKJV) —30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His
disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may
have life in His name.
The greatest of miracles was when Jesus Himself rose from
the dead after having been dead for three days.
The world wants to tell you this is all fairy tale nonsense.
The apostles didn’t think so.
They all died horrible deaths proclaiming the same message
– Jesus rose from the dead.
If you have doubts about Jesus, look at the works that Jesus has done, the
things Jesus reminded John the Baptist of.
2. God’s Word
What is not so obvious in Jesus’ message to John is the fact that Jesus is
hinting at the fulfillment of the Scriptures with these miracles.
700 years before Jesus, Isaiah told us how to recognize the Messiah:
35:4–6 NKJV) —4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong,
do not fear! Behold, your
God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; 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 the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters
shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.
Jesus was reminding John to not just look at the miracles, but to look at
the Word of God for the answers to his questions.
Some of you may be wondering if we can even trust the Bible as an
Every year archaeologists dig up more and more evidence that
the Bible is indeed accurate. Here’s
just a teeny tiny sample –
Video: SourceFlix – Walls of
Our assurance of salvation is based on the Word of God, not our feelings.
Our feelings can change all the time, and especially when
we are going through a difficult time like John is, being in prison.
If you worry about whether or not you “feel” like you’re
saved, you’re going to have a problem every time something affects your
God’s Word says our salvation is based on what Jesus has done for us.
2:8–9 NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Jesus died in our place as an act of grace.
We receive the benefit of that grace when we believe in
Do you believe that Jesus died for you?
Though I think the Scriptures teach that it can be possible for a person to
wander so far from the Lord that they can lose their salvation, I think it’s
pretty clear that you have to wander pretty far and pretty long for this to
I do not believe it’s a healthy thing for a believer to be
thinking they need to get “saved” every Sunday.
God wants you to “believe” and be settled on it.
Yes, you will stumble and fall. But ask God for forgiveness (not salvation) and
get back up and keep going.
The apostle John wrote,
(1 John 5:11–13 NKJV) —11 And this is
the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has
the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things
I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know
that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the
name of the Son of God.
God doesn’t want you to wonder if you have eternal
life. He wants you to know.
Do you believe?
Then you have the Son. If you
have the Son, you have eternal life.
7:24-30 Jesus praises John
:24 When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the
multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A
reed shaken by the wind?
:24 go out into the wilderness to see
This is looking at the Dead Sea from Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were
The area is all desert.
The people had to travel all the way into the desert if they wanted to hear
:24 A reed shaken by the wind?
John didn’t bend his message just to please the people that were listening
to him. He spoke the truth.
:25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed
those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts.
:25 A man clothed in soft garments?
(Matthew 3:4 NKJV) Now John
himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his
food was locusts and wild honey.
:26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more
than a prophet.
:26 But what did you go out to see?
Jesus is pointing out to His audience that they didn’t go out to listen to
John because he was some ultra-slick cool guy.
John was very rough around the edges.
But he spoke the truth about God.
:27 This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger
before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’
:27 Who will prepare Your way
Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 40:3
:28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater
prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is
greater than he.”
:28 there is not a greater prophet
Of all the prophets that ever lived, including men like Samuel, Elijah, and
Isaiah, John is to be considered the greatest.
John is the one who would get the nation of Israel ready to be introduced
to the Messiah, Jesus.
:28 he who is least in the kingdom of God
John was the last prophet of the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses.
To be right with God under the Old Covenant, you not only needed to believe
in God, you needed to take care of being right with God by yourself.
Every time you messed up, you needed to provide a sacrifice for your sins.
The New Covenant changed the method.
Instead of relying on you to provide the sacrifice, God Himself provided
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
It was a better contract, one where your part is simply to believe.
When you believe in what Jesus has done for you, you become a citizen of
the kingdom of God.
Your sins past, present, and future have been paid by the King Himself.
And even if you consider yourself the “least” in the kingdom, you are ahead
of what John had under the Old Covenant.
:29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors
justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John.
:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves,
not having been baptized by him.
:30 the Pharisees and lawyers rejected
These Pharisees and lawyers are the most religious of all the Jews.
While the sinners were open to what John the Baptist had been preaching,
the religious leaders were not.
:29 the tax collectors justified God having been baptized
These were Jewish men employed by Rome to collect taxes from their fellow
Jews. They typically were men who worked
hard to cheat the common folk out of as much money as they could.
They were hated and considered the worst of all sinners.
The tax collectors declared that God was righteous and good when they heard
John preaching because of how they responded to the teaching of John.
They responded by turning from their sins and getting baptized.
having been baptized – baptizo
– to immerse, to submerge; to cleanse by dipping or submerging
Show what you believe
When John baptized people in the Jordan River, they were responding to the
message he had been preaching.
(Matthew 3:2 NKJV) and saying,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
The word “repent” means to “turn around. John was asking people to turn their lives
around. He was people to turn from their
Baptism was a picture of a person’s sins being washed away
as a result of their repentance.
It was as if they got a new start in life.
Listen to what Peter said at the end of his message on the day of Pentecost
and note how close it is to John the Baptist’s …
(Acts 2:37–38 NKJV)
—37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and
said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what
shall we do?” 38
Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of
the Holy Spirit.
Peter told the people to repent and be baptized. That’s how they were to respond to the
message about Jesus.
In four weeks we will be having our annual Baptism potluck extravaganza. It’s a big time in the life of our
church. We will be having lots of food, a
bounce house and giant water slide for the kids, and best of all – baptism.
We aren’t saved by being baptized, we are saved by our faith (Eph. 2:8-9)
But if we are saved, we ought to obey the Lord’s command to be
baptized. It’s a way of showing the
world what has happened to you and that you have chosen to follow Jesus.
While John’s baptism just gave a picture of being “washed” from your sins,
Jesus’ baptism goes a little further.
Christian baptism also involves identifying with what
Jesus did for us.
Paul wrote in Romans 6 that when we are lowered into the
water, it’s a picture that we have been “buried” in death with Christ.
When the pastor lifts you back up out of the water, it’s a
picture that we have been raised from the dead with Christ.
Some of you were baptized as babies – and we appreciate your parents’ heart
in doing this, but babies aren’t old enough to “believe” or “repent”.
So, if you have not been baptized since you came to believe in Jesus, then
we invite you to come and be baptized! Invite
your family and friends to come – it’s a great time to talk about Jesus with
7:31-35 Fickle Folks
:31 And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this
generation, and what are they like?
:32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one
another, saying: ‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We
mourned to you, And you did not weep.’
:32 We played … We mourned …
The picture is that of children in the open air market running around and
playing with each other.
One group of children says, “Let’s play wedding party!” and they begin to
play happy music, but the other group of children doesn’t want to play
Another group of children says, “Let’s play funeral!” and they begin to
pretend crying, but the other group doesn’t want to play that.
Jesus is saying that He and John the Baptist haven’t been playing the games
that the people have been wanting them to play.
Nothing seems to satisfy these people.
:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and
you say, ‘He has a demon.’
:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a
glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
:35 But wisdom is justified by all her children.”
:35 wisdom is justified by all her children
Jesus is saying that both He and John showed they were children of “wisdom”
because they led their own unique lives the way God wanted them to.
Stop playing games
In the 1983 movie “WarGames”, a teenager hacks into the American nuclear missile
command and thinks he’s found a computer who can play a game…
The problem was that it wasn’t a game. The computer was trying to start a real
If coming to church or being a Christian is just a “game” to you, you’re
not in a good place. God doesn’t want to
play games with you, He wants you to follow Him.
God has unique plans for each of our lives just as John and Jesus had
I don’t mean that what’s a sin for one person is okay for another – this is
not about sin.
The people criticized Jesus and John about what they ate
or didn’t eat. Those aren’t sin issues.
The issue is about God’s unique plan for each of their lives.
Paul describes God’s plan for our lives as if we are all different parts of
a big body. Each body part has its own
12:15–17 NKJV) —15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the
body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of
the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an
eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where
would be the smelling?
The problem is that sometimes we want to be like something
we’re not designed to be. We feel like
we can’t be a part of God’s work unless we are like someone else.
God’s plan for John the Baptist was to get the people ready for Jesus by
turning them from their sin, and he demonstrated that by a life of fasting and
God’s plan for Jesus was to pour out God’s grace on people. He was to demonstrate God’s nature of grace,
of giving to those who don’t deserve it.
His life was not about fasting, but about feasting.
Two different lives, two different lifestyles.
I think we will each spend our entire life learning more and more about
God’s plan for our life as it unfolds.
Be careful that you are open to all that God wants YOU to be, not what He
wants your friend to be.
Don’t play games with God’s plan for you.