The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Tim Coleman. Tim Likes to climb.

Luke 7:18-35

Jesus and John the Baptist

18 The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19 and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, "Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?"

20 John's two disciples found Jesus and said to him, "John the Baptist sent us to ask, 'Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?'"
21 At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. 22 Then he told John’s disciples, "Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard - the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor." 23 And he added, "God blesses those who do not fall away because of me."

24 After John's disciples left, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. "What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? 25 Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people who wear beautiful clothes and live in luxury are found in palaces. 26 Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. 27 John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say,

'Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    and he will prepare your way before you.'

28 I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!"

29 When they heard this, all the people - even the tax collectors - agreed that God's way was right, for they had been baptised by John. 30 But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God's plan for them, for they had refused John's baptism.
31 "To what can I compare the people of this generation?" Jesus asked. "How can I describe them? 32 They are like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,

'We played wedding songs,
    and you didn't dance,
so we played funeral songs,
    and you didn’t weep.'

33 For John the Baptist didn't spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, 'He's possessed by a demon.' 34 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ 35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it."

Reflection


Several years ago, one of my old housemates met Justin.
 
Justin was a handsome guy who had a very 'got-it-together' vibe about him and he was always dressed very well. Justin had been coming over to my house to do some bible studies with me, at the recommendation of my old housemate who had been going every week to his organisation's bible studies over in the east London docklands.
 
This housemate of mine was at a searching stage of her life. She had done the Life Course, and now she was wanting to dig deeper into the bible, and these courses definitely seemed to have perked her interest. Each week, she would come back excited about the mysteries she was learning, which no one else knew about, and each week she seemed to grow more distant, her face seeming to become more troubled and glazed over.
 
She had done this bible study course once, but was now doing it again to understand 'the mysteries' more deeply. I was naturally interested in hearing about what she was learning, but as she couldn't really seem to explain with much clarity what she was discovering,  Justin had come over to teach me too.
 
I remember how Justin spoke to me about John the Baptist, he was teaching me mysteries that I'd never heard before. But something didn't seem right, and when he left I'd go upstairs to my room and cry, but I couldn't understand why. I felt uncomfortable and afraid, and my housemate seemed to be the same.
 
The final time he came over, I turned the conversation to Jesus, the one whom, in this passage, John had prepared the way for; the one all 'The Prophets' and 'The Law' had prepared a way for. The coming messiah, the Son of God, the King. The one who even the Roman centurion in the previous section of Luke 7 had recognised with his simple faith.
 
A few years later (after being away for 2 years), I discovered that this bible study group had been labeled a dangerous cult, our very own John Peters having issued a warning together with HTB in the papers. So be eager to learn more, but if you are worried about whether something is a cult or not, just check whether it points to Jesus. And if you have not done it yet, the Life Course has started and it's not too late to join!

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