Luke 7:18-35 “Are You the One, Jesus?”
Bible Background: Luke has been carefully showing us how Jesus IS the One sent by God; fulfilling the promises of the Messiah. Note that Jesus does not usually go around claiming “I am the One!” He lets people draw their own conclusions. In these verses, John the Baptist (in Herod’s prison) sends his disciples to check-out Jesus!
Digging Deeper: 1. It might seem odd that John the Baptist-who was so sure he ‘knew’ Jesus-is still not sure what to make of Jesus. But remember, if you were in John’s shoes, doubts and questions would be natural; and reassurance would be needed. Also remember that Luke is very carefully assuring the reader of Jesus’ true identity and nature! When do you need some reassurance that Jesus is present? That Jesus’ promises are real?
2. Also note that Jesus does not “fit” everyone’s expectation for God’s Messiah! He seems to break rules. He doesn’t hang out with the ‘right’ kind of people. He’s not promising to ‘make Israel great again.’ He’s different! (Not to mention he will die on a cross!) When are we tempted to shape Jesus in ‘our’ image? In what ways has your ‘picture’ of Jesus changed since childhood or over time?
3. John’s disciples ask “Are you the one?” Jesus’ answer is: “Go, tell John what you see and hear: the blind receive the sight, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them…” Sometimes ‘seeing’ is believing. Sometimes it’s not. By asking John’s disciples to look around and ‘see’ and ‘hear’ he nudges them to draw their own conclusions. Ultimately, that’s what we must do as well! What evidence of God’s presence can we see? Of God’s love? Of the Spirit’s power at work? Is that enough evidence to keep stepping forward in faith?
4. There is a note of rejection in this passage, both rejection of John (by some) and rejection of Jesus (by some.) When and why do people reject God/Jesus? What about when things go bad in life? What about when our prayers don’t seem to be answered? What about when Jesus’ commands and values clash with our instincts or our common sense?
5. How would you describe what you have heard and seen and found in Jesus? Remember, it is our assignment to “go and tell!”
Next week: Luke 7:36-50