The Greatness of John and his Rejection

The True King of Israel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  53:41
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I. Introduction

1. Prayers

Bible memory

Romans 8:23 ESV
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


Catch- What do angels get to see that we do not?

Angels are amazing
They are said to sound amazing
I heard a soft melodious voice, more pure and harmonious than any I had heard with my ears before; I believed it was the voice of an angel who spake to the other angels.
John Woolman
They are said to know so much about us
The angels will know their Master’s property. They know each saint, for they were present at his birthday.
What In The Barn, Volume 60, Sermon #3393 - Matthew 13:30
Charles Spurgeon
But what do they love to see that cannot truly understand?
Salvation of sinners like you and me
1 Peter 1:10–12- Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
We get to see that Salvation from Christ is better than all the mighty miracles, acts of power, or recognition that men can get

3. Review of the book

Remember that John’s disciples have just left and headed home to John
We discussed how had it can be when the world around you doesn’t seem to match what you believe Jesus says he will do
Jesus’ big statement in his sermon set the tone
Luke 6:46 ESV
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
There are two choices… do what jesus says or reject Him

Following Jesus is great, but do not be surprised at rejection

1) The comparison shows what to value (24-28)

i. Explanation

A. The greatness of John (24-48a)

John’s messengers walk off and Jesus starts talking behind John’s back, the best things possible
There are some discussions for why Jesus waited… was it for John’s sake or for the peoples, but Jesus doesn’t reveal that to us
Instead, he shows it is appropriate to talk good things about someone when they are not there.
Clearly, this is for the crowds who are following him
He gives 3 questions to define John
Why did the people flock in crowds when we said things like
Luke 3:7–10 ESV
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”

1) Did the people go see boring grass in the wilderness?

reeds are generally tall hollow grass
And do you find fruit trees in the wilderness? No
You go to Oasis like Jericho which would look all green, with tees and fruit
So, obviously, you wouldn’t go out to see weeds

2) Did people go a rich ruler?

The clothing is described as soft to the touch, which only the richest could wear
And while Luke doesn’t mention his clothing specifically, we know john was anything but
Matthew 3:4- Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his wais
rough camel-hair garment seems to have been characteristic of a prophet: “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his prophetic vision. He will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive” (Zechariah 13:4)
John was a prophet, not a politician
Rulers lived in palaces like Herod’s place in Jersualem
Or we talked about how Solmon’s house was bigger than the temple
But is all luxury bad? why not?
We probably live better than kings did in those days
The same word is used to describe Aaron’s priestly clothes as luxurious (ex 28;2) and the temple as beautiful (isa 60:7), both things God commanded.
There are rich people throughout the bible, including Lydia who was a seller of purple… it can be used for GOd’s glory
Besides, John Calvin writes, “There are many other passages in which luxury of dress, and excessive attention to outward appearance, are censured. But this passage simply means, that there was nothing in the wilderness to attract the people from every quarter..

3) Did they go see a prophet, then? Yes

But not just a prophet, The Prophet
He quotes from the Old Testament
Malachi 3:1–2 ESV
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.
My messenger, is the one who goes to prepare the way for God
Jesus says John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the messenger who preceded the Messiah
He puts him on a level with the great prophets of the ancient world—Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
Jesus is saying “John is not just any prophet; he is the prophet that the whole Jewish community had been waiting for to announce the breakthrough of the kingdom of God”
But he’s not just the greatest prophet, he’s the greatest ever
Why does born of women mean everyone?
It should mean everyone because eveyrone comes from women
1 Corinthians 11:11–12- Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
And who among them is greater than John?
Greater would a common understanding that the disciples argued over a all the time
Luke 22:24- A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
What reasons can you think of John being the greatest?
He was the last of the prophets, the culmination who got to point to Jesus himself
He lived faithfully, even giving up his freedom and life to stand for God’s word
But who is greater than even John?

B. The greater gift of the kingdom citizens (28b)

The least means the smallest, the most humble
As a comparison, this just means everyone who is following the king, Jeuss
There is something more important than following John: entry to the kingdom’
In the kingdom is an important theological issues that has been mentioned a couple times in Luke
Luke 1:33- and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 4:43- but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”
Luke 6:20- And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luke 8:10- he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
Luke 9:11- When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.
We’re calling this series the true King of Israel, because we saw the failures of the first Kings in Samuel and kings
If Jesus were preaching a kingdom different from the OT prophets or the expectations of the Jews would He not have explained this or redefined the kingdom?
We know the kingdom isn’t here yet because after Jesus died and resurrected we rea
Acts 1:6–8 ESV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The kingdom is something that will become near
Luke 21:31 “Even so you, too, when you see these things happening [tribulation events], recognize that the kingdom of God is near
The Church age is a time of preparation before the kingdom is established
So, who are kingdom citizens?
Followers of the king, no matter where they live
What does it mean to follow king Jesus?
Repent and follow Him
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 ESV
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
RC Sproul says [john] lived and died on the other side of the cross, the resurrection and the ascension. ( R. C. Sproul, A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999), 146.)
They would know that Jesus died for them
Jesus points out that salvation is better than even the greatest power
Luke 10:17–20 ESV
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Remember, Elijah was one of those great prophets but After the drama at Carmel (1 Kings 18), Elijah was so depressed that he wanted to die.
ii. Illustration
So how does one define the GOAt?
Not, the actual goat, but Greatest of All time
Some base it off Victories like. It’s Michael Jordan. He’s the greatest; he won six rings and could not be stopped.”
Time magazine based on impact they had
Napelon was #2
iii. Application
But how should we determine who is the greatest?
How can you tell someone that salvation is greater than success, riches, power??
It’s not actually about who you are, but who you are connected with
Our identity is in Christ
how do you respond when you don’t get what you want?
a. Are you discouraged but proud you honored God with your best, or are you angry you don’t have something you want?
b. Tim Challies- “Envy exposes your heart like no other sin really does, it lays it bare, it shows what you desire more than you desire God You act out against God by resenting him because you determine in your mind that God has given you less than you deserve. You believe that God owes you more and better and that God must love that other person more than he loves you”
c. The gospel teaches us to see our identity in Christ, not our victories or our stuff.
A Bryan Chapel quote:
Though our sin is still real to us and must be confessed daily, we recognize that sin does not create our identity. Our lives are hid in Christ (Col. 3:3); we are characterized by his righteousness (Phil. 3:9). The joy that God intends for us comes when we consider that while we see our sin, God chooses to gaze upon his Son in us
Let’s see how people respond

The response (29-30)


The acceptance by the baptized (29)

The people and the hated tax collectors all agreed, God is good
They did the thing you’re supposed to do with a good sermon… wow,God
the LSB translates it “they acknowledged God’s justice”
They recognized John was great since they were baptized by him
They agreed that God’s ways were right because they saw their John’s call for repentance against thieir sin as a good one
Remember, baptism for repentance meant that they agreed there was something wrong with them that needed to change
Some of them were good people, but they agreed with Bryan Chapel again
Holiness by Grace- Chapell, Bryan
we do not usually consider how vigorously striving after holiness apart from the provisions of our union with Christ can be just as enslaving. If we fail to understand how we rely on God’s grace alone to make us right with him, our Christian walk necessarily becomes a showy parade of pride in spiritual gifts and achievements, permeated with envy of others’ accomplishments.
So it was a great comfort to be told… you can be greater than John because of your relationship, not your acts
but who rejected it?

The rejection by the leaders (30)

The pharisees and Lawyers
We’ll get into next week why and how
But why did they not get baptized by John?
Matthew 21:25–26 ESV
The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
They didn’t even care if it was true, they worried about people more.
ii. Illustration
iii. Application

Jesus’ rebuke of those who reject (31-35)

i. Explanation

They’re act like unhappy children (31-32)

They do not like strictness (33)

They do not like liberty (34)

ii. Illustration
iii. Application

III. Conclusion

1. Cohesion-

2. Resolution-

IV. Closing prayer


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