Jesus and John the Baptist
In this past Sunday school, we studied two events in the earthly life of our Lord Jesus. Our corresponding passages were in Matthew 8 and Luke 7. We saw Jesus heal the servant of a Roman centurion. Jesus blessed this man who had been blessing Israel. We also saw Jesus resurrect the son of a widow. As a result of these events, the Sermon on the Mount and so much more, the knowledge of Jesus had spread throughout Judea, Galilee and the Gentile regions.
Let us be reminded, from the full Biblical perspective, what is happening in the Gospels. The Scriptures had told the nation of Israel that the Messiah was coming. Jesus came as the promised Messiah and Savior of mankind. Jesus clearly proclaimed Himself as Israel’s long awaited and anticipated Messiah. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus consistently validated His claim to be the Messiah. At this point in our study, multitudes have come to realize that Jesus is, indeed, their Messiah. At some point, as a nation, Israel will need to render a decision. Either Jesus is or is not the Messiah. Again, not individually, but nationally.
The nation is led by the Sanhedrin. As we have discussed, the Sanhedrin functioned as the Supreme Court for the nation. Currently, in our study, we are marching ourselves directly towards the decision rendered by the Sanhedrin. The record of their decision is found in Matthew 12 and Mark 3. We are not there, yet.
In this EBlast, we will discuss Matthew 11:2-19 and Luke 7:18-35. Let us make some observations from these two passages. John the Baptist knew very well that his relative, Jesus, was the Messiah. John saw the Spirit, as a dove, descend and land on Jesus. He pointed out to the crowds that Jesus was the Messiah. It appeared that, now, after some time and after having been in prison for a while, John had begun to question his own conclusions. Certainly, John’s life had not turned out as John might have expected, in light of him being the forerunner for the Messiah. After receiving two of John’s disciples, Jesus told them to tell John of all of the Messianic work that Jesus was doing. In essence, Jesus was telling John, “Worry not. You did your job well and you were correct. I am the Messiah”.
Jesus then taught the crowd about John. John was not wishy washy. He was clear and confident in his proclamation. He was not influenced by wealth and comforts. He was a prophet. He received direct revelation from God. He was, actually, more than just a prophet. John was THE one to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. In fact, amongst all the prophets, there was none greater than John. Knowledge about John had spread. Even in Acts 19, the Apostle Paul encountered some people in Ephesus who were acquainted with the baptism of John.
Yet, even though John is the greatest of the Old Testament saints, those who are “The Church”, are greater than even the greatest Old Testament saint. This is because the Church is the bride of the Messiah. This is because the Church has the living God living inside of us. Jesus then went on to explain that John’s job was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. He did his job. Now, the nation will have to decide, yes or no regarding Jesus. Those who were baptized by John came to believe. The Sanhedrin, on the other hand, would not believe. The Sanhedrin were like little children in the playground. No matter what John or Jesus did, they simply would not believe. They insisted on having it their own way.
To expound: John came as a Nazarite. He regularly fasted and he drank no wine. Because of this lifestyle, the Sanhedrin rejected John. Jesus did not fast, according to the religious system, and He drank wine. They used this lifestyle as a criterion to reject Jesus. They could not be satisfied or pleased. Regarding John, the Sanhedrin said that he had a demon. Keep that in mind. How they accused John, the forerunner of the Messiah, is how they will accuse the Messiah.