The Weekend Word
(Last week we left off with John sending his disciples to Jesus to ask the now famous question “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”)
4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
- Jesus, now in response will now be preaching to John / them.
- Preaching back to John what John was already been preaching himself.
- OR… was Jesus really playing the ying to John’s yang?
- And now John’s disciples now understand.
- Jesus also understood that Jesus is the Lamb unto God who is off to slaughter and John understands that he faces the same fate.
5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
- Come on John / them – pull out your scrolls / iPads and look up the Isaiah passages (29 & 35)
- Messianic passages and now we have seen all the activities come to life
- The poor = not the economically poor – but the Beatitudes type – the poor in spirit.
6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
- Blessed = not offended
- Many, if not outright offended are still either ashamed or timid to proclaim Christ as their Lord.
- We all need to have the gospel message repeatedly preached back to us because we tend to forget and wander away
- Just believe and do what Jesus says.
7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
- After this Jesus goes off and praises John to others.
- Note that Jesus did not go off and rescue John – break him out of jail. He didn’t even go visit and answer John face to face.
- This is the thing with the promises to the church, Christians like soldiers may fall and die, but the church will be forever.
- Note here that Jesus is using a technique to draw the surrounding crowd in.
- He comes up with 3 engaging questions that he answers himself.
- “A reed shaken by the wind?” fickled – accommodating or weak in his ministry – does this sound like John?
8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
- Sarcasm or irony used by Jesus
- Was John dress as the wealthy in soft clothing? No!
- Such people live in a king’s palace – where does John live? I a king’s prison.
9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
- Was John a prophet? Yes in a way.
- But even to compare him to Yahweh’s prophet is to miss the importance of John.
- His ministry – and the times that have come upon Israel – and the world.
- For John is even greater than a prophet.
10 This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
- What were you looking for – A vending machine God? A Santa Claus God?
- Do we look for the God of the Bible or the God of our wants?
- John the Baptist was not a man to bend before Herod.
- It doesn’t matter who you were looking for – THIS is he of whom it is written in the Bible.
11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
- Jesus knows how to keep us on our toes with these strange sayings
- How do we become greater? Even the lowest of us?
- John is surpassed because he never got to see the resurrection, never got to be baptized in the triune name – never got to taste the body and the blood of his savior
- He never got to experience the full joy of the spirit as did Christians after Pentecost.
- He was the greatest of the OT, but never got to share the life in Christ like we do today.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
- When is NOW? The time between John the Baptist and when Jesus is speaking?
- How about something that Matthew is interjecting in Jesus’ voice up to the time Matthew is writing?
- This whole verse – it does not get any tougher than this.
13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John,
- The days of the prophet are coming to an end – or have already ended.
- John stands at a time of transition
14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.
- Malachi passage – Mal 4: 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
- 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
- This was and is something very important to the Jews then and today
- Passover event – saving a seat for Elijah.
15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
- Proverbs 20:12 – The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.
- Ears that don’t hear – eyes that don’t see?