Background to Consider…
After the final prophecies of Malachi, God remained silent for four centuries. He did not speak to anybody—prophet or priest. The silence between the two Testaments is daunting. But God did not stay silent. One day, through His messenger, God spoke to a priest named Zechariah. He told this priest that there would be coming a son from his own line who would prepare the way of the Messiah.
This Messiah, we are later told, would be the King of kings and Lord of lords. He would be the one true Prophet, thus making all of the other prophets who came before Him mere parodies. It would be through this Messiah whom God would fully reveal Himself (John 1:1, 14) and through whom God would speak. In fact, now in the present time, we no longer go to prophets for revelation from God, but to the words of Jesus the Christ (Heb. 1:1-2). The Spirit-inspired Scripture is God’s Word and revelation to us (2 Tim. 3:14-17).
But when the Messiah comes, what would He do? Would He bring judgment or healing, condemnation or grace?
Read Luke 7:18-35 and Think About…
1. Why John the Baptist questioned Jesus.
- We know Jesus recognized John the Baptist was “offended” because of Him (Luke 7:23), but why was He offended? (It might be helpful to think about John the Baptist’s words to the people in John 3:7-17.)
2. Jesus’ response to John the Baptist.
- Why did Jesus respond the way He did in Luke 7:21-22? Why not just answer directly?
3. The Old Testament stories and allusions to the coming Messiah .
- There is little doubt that Jesus’ words were in fact very deliberate and well-chosen. Jesus was not just “making up an answer.” Rather, he was quoting, however loosely, the prophecies of Isaiah.
- All good Jews—not least John the Baptist—would have most certainly recognized Jesus’ response. After all, Jesus’ words were familiar words, taken from Isaiah 29:18-19; Isaiah 35:5-6; Isaiah 61:1-3.
4. How Jesus was gracious to John, even in his doubt.
- Despite John’s moments of doubt, Jesus the Messiah had grace for him too (Luke 7:24-35).