7633 - Assurance for John

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So often we see people in the Gospels not quite fully understanding who Jesus is; even John the Baptist.

Today let’s study Luke 7:18-23:
John's disciples told him all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, `Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

This event unfolds while John the Baptist is imprisoned at Machaerus. There is no sure way of knowing how long John had been in prison.

John’s ministry was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. Very possibly John, like most of the Jewish people, was expecting Jesus to be the conquering Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and reestablish the kingdom of Israel.

John’s ministry had a glorious reception from the people. He was very popular with them. He had baptized Jesus and given testimony that this was indeed the Son of God, the Lamb of God who was to take away the sin of the world.
However in a short time Herod had imprisoned him.

Josephus, the historian, wrote that Herod had imprisoned John because he feared there would arise a rebellion out of the great influence, which John had over the people.

For some months John had languished in prison. His disciples had access to him and john could keep up with affairs through them.

Eventually John called two of his disciples and sent them to Jesus, inquiring if John had made a mistake or was Jesus really the promised Messiah.

Some scholars believe that John’s anxiety came from his firm belief that the kingdom was to be reestablished very soon, and as he was confined day after day he grew impatient, and then apprehensive.

John knew Scripture, but like so many others he overlooked the prophecies regarding the servant Messiah who would suffer and pay the penalty for sin before the conquering Messiah would appear.

What he did hear gave him hope, but just in case, “Jesus, could you give some affirmation that you are the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

As the messengers came to Jesus He was very busy ministering to people. The passage says that Jesus cured many who had diseases, sickness, and evil spirits; and that He restored sight to many who were blind.

These were miraculous acts, which John would recognize were prophesied about the coming Messiah. So Jesus, told the messengers to return to John and report all they had seen and heard.

Look at the list Jesus gave them: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and finally that the good news is preached to the poor. These messengers were loaded with good reports.

However, there was another item, which Jesus told the messengers to deliver to John. Tell him, “blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” Other translations of this phrase are, “Blessed is the man who does not loose faith in me,” and “he who is not offended by me.”

I cannot believe this was a censure of John, but it was meant to be a message of encouragement. Hang in there! God is at work, Jesus was saying to John. None of the gospel writers give any report about John’s reaction to this message from Jesus.

Scripture gives no accurate identification of time, but after more waiting John was beheaded because of the jealousy and bitterness of Herod’s wife.