Luke 7:18-35

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Disappointed and Impatient

Things aren’t going as expected…Looking for something spectacular
Luke 7:18–35 ESV
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ ” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” When John’s messengers had gone, 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? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.) “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

Nothing Happened as John Expected

In prison
Seems like he was expecting Jesus to do something spectacular…NOTHING.
I prophesied that the coming one would do some amazing things…bring the judgment hammer. Wasn’t happening.
Sent a couple of his followers to Jesus to light a fire under him.

Watch and See

Jesus’ answer is to direct attention to what was going on. Help was being given to the blind (Isa. 35:5), the lame (Isa. 35:6), lepers, the deaf (Isa. 35:5), the dead and the poor (Isa. 61:1).
It was in such works of mercy and not in spectacular victories over Roman armies that Messiah’s work would be accomplished (‘Jesus might not represent the kind of God they wanted, but the question is posed whether here might not be the kind of God they needed’,
Jesus had preached about this in the synagogue at Nazareth (4:18ff.). But this truth is not open to everyone’s perception
Saw what Jesus was doing
Not representing the kind of God many wanted
Report to John: Mercy over Judgment

Disappointment Doesn’t Lessen Us

Turned to the crowd...
John was the greatest of men
Never wavered on what he stood for - the prophetic message despite a hard life lived simply.
Forerunner of the Messiah

Yet: Joining God’s Kingdom (Least) is More Important Than Following John

More important than giving ourselves to the details of scripture without coming to grips with its message
Lawyers - Laws and rules over the purpose and will of God
Couldn’t see where their lives needed to change…
Refused John’s baptism (repentance)
Not interested in what Jesus had to say
Closed minds lead to mistake after mistake

Can’t Be Pleased

Reject good things
Like children begging their friends to play but they won’t.
Complained that John and his guys wouldn’t celebrate and that Jesus wouldn’t be gloomy.
They didn’t respond to Jesus’ joy or John’s solemnness.
They wouldn’t accept John - his teaching was too uncomfortable.
Jesus wasn’t like John - he celebrated with ordinary people. If you rejected John for being boring, wouldn’t you receive Jesus?
Not that glutton and drunkard. That friend of sinners.
Religious people looked down their noses at the people Jesus spent his life with. He despised no one. He won them by willingly associating himself with them.
And he heard the complaints.

Hear and respond to God’s call

35 - But The wise see and point to the right way in both John and Jesus.
They won’t walk in the critical ways of those who can never be pleased.

How Wise Are We?

Complaints in churches isn’t new. Why? We’re more like religious people in this story than we like to think: never satisfied.
Very dissatisfied people right now.
Life, society, etc.
On one hand, easy to dismiss what is happening not acknowledging the issues in our own house and be skeptical of needed change.
On the other, easy to criticize without offering a helpful and faithful reconstruction that honors what has come before and reflects the new movement of God around and among us.
Why? Maybe all of us have put too much of our trust in the things we’ve added to Jesus.
Trusted and it’s become part of our identity. Can’t let go.
Trusted and it did more harm than good. Won’t hold on.
We can’t be pleased.
Asking like John: Jesus, why aren’t you doing what I expect?
If we pay attention to Jesus we’ll see what he’s doing; what being in his kingdom has always been about: Mercy over judgment - in our faith communities and in relationship with our society.
How do we get there: Jesus has to be everything.
Sit at his feet and not just point out what is wrong with the other.
Love and obedience.
No ambition other than him.

What does this story tell us about God?

What does this story tell us about people?

If this is God’s word for our lives what changes will we make in response to it?

Who needs to hear this story?

How can I tell them?

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