Luke 7:18-35 comprises three distinct but related sections of material, focused on the identity of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist and the relationship between them. In addressing the relationship of John and Jesus, we gain important insights regarding the nature of the kingdom that Christ had come to bring.
In verses 18-23, Jesus tells us about himself.
- John’s disciples ask Jesus whether he is the one (the Messiah) or should they look for another? How do Jesus words and actions speak directly to his identity?
- At the end of this section, why does Jesus say, “Blessed is the one who is not offended at me.”
In verses 24-30, Jesus tells us about John
- In reference to John the Baptist, what do the comparisons of “a reed shaken by the wind” and “a man in soft clothing” intend to convey?
- Jesus says, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John” (v.28). How can Jesus say this? Explain the greatness of John.
- Speaking of John, how can Jesus then say, “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (v. 28).
- Two groups are mentioned in verses 29-30—those who received the baptism of John and accepted the justice of God and those who did not. What is the meaning of John’s baptism and how does it relate to the justice of God?
In verses 31-35, Jesus provides a contrast in ministry styles between himself and John.
- John ministered in the desert as an ascetic, while Jesus roamed freely among the people and ate with the “sinners” of society. Despite these differences, both were rejected. How does the same rejection but contrasting approaches shed light on the little parable that Jesus tells in verse 31?
- What have you personally learned about the kingdom of God from this passage of Scripture?