“A Just-Below-the-Surface Reading”
Below, I’ll jot down a few notes as I read this. The purpose of my notes today is to give you a few little insights that go just below the level of surface reading. The story makes perfect sense without these insights but please don’t skip reading my notes. It won’t take 3 or 4 minutes of your day and you might have a little extra time now, and a desire for a wholesome, high-protein bite from the life of Jesus.
One more thing. Our text today is Luke 7:18-28, and you need to read that. Read it first. It is the Word of God. My thoughts, even at their most helpful, are NOT the Word of God. If you want to choose between reading my thoughts and reading the Word of God, the Word wins all day, every day! Skip what I have to say if you wish, but please read the text.
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- Why is John so unsure of Jesus’ identity? The Jewish people weren’t all agreed on the idea of what “Messiah” meant, but the most popular view was that the Messiah would be a Davidic Warrior King. By this time in Jesus’ public ministry, he had already had an unlimited number of opportunities to begin planting the seeds of an overthrow of Roman rule. Instead, Jesus went around healing family members of Roman centurions, and teaching Jews to carry the heavy packs of Roman soldiers, a second mile! Isn’t it possible that John might have been looking for more “firepower” from Jesus?
- The miracles were for the purpose of identification. Look at all the amazing works Jesus was doing! And Jesus indicates that these signs and miracles were to prove that God was truly at work through him. What purpose would miracles most likely serve today?
- Jesus gives subtle statements regarding His kingship and His Messianic identity. Jesus, in verse 25, is obviously pointing out the contrasts between His kingdom, and the current, ridiculous, often brutal and ineffective political structures of his day. But more importantly, Jesus is making a very obvious claim to be the Messiah, when he points out that John is the messenger predicted by the prophet Malachi. Malachi’s messenger was to prepare the way for….who? THE MESSIAH! Jesus is making a very bold claim to be the Messiah. And he is backing up that claim by going on a healing spree the likes of which no one had ever seen before.
- Jesus apparently thought John was the greatest. Why? Prophets were best known for pointing out problems; John, the last Old Testament prophet, got to announce the Solution, Jesus the Messiah! Also, John was 100% committed to God’s plan, even if he didn’t always 100% understand it. God calls us to the same kind of faith.
Love you guys!