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What is your definition of a miracle? Ask Jesus to make himself known to you today. Be excited in anticipation!


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Bible passage: Luke 7:18–35


Jesus and John the Baptist
 18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

 20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

 21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 23 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

 24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:

   “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way before you.’

   28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

 29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

   31 “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

   “‘We played the flute for you,
   and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
   and you did not cry.’

   33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Powerful images
I can’t remember how many times as a writer I have been advised to ‘show don’t tell’. We definitely remember things seen much better than things heard. Jesus sends John’s disciples back to him in prison to report the powerful images they have witnessed (v 21).

Needing reassurance
Remember, this is John the Baptist we are talking about. The one who has himself seen amazing things. Is he trying here to force Jesus into a declaration about being the Messiah (v 19)? Is he just needing reassurance, his captivity causing him to think he has imagined it all? Perhaps wondering why Jesus has not come to his rescue.

Personal experience
It is only after the messengers have gone that Jesus talks of John being a prophet and even more than that (v 26). Those who have been baptised by him, touched by him, realise this. Not so much the Pharisees who haven’t had this personal experience (v 30).

Live expectantly
Do we ever feel that Jesus should be getting us out of our current situation? Do we think he has forgotten us? If we trust him, he will act. But we need to live expectantly, aware that Jesus’ ‘more than’ in our lives might be totally different from how we imagine it.

Liz Pacey

Respond


Imagine the scene. Be there with Jesus as he reminds you of all the miracles he has performed. Think of his working in your life. And praise him.


Deeper Bible study


This passage has often troubled Christians, for John seems to doubt whether Jesus is the Messiah, even though he must have seen the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus at his baptism and heard God proclaim him as ‘my Son’ (Matt 3:13–17; Luke 3:21,22). John had also been informed about the miracles Christ had done, yet still sent his followers to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ (v 20).

So why did John doubt? First, Jesus had not acted the way John had expected. He had assumed that the Messiah would bring judgement, but instead Jesus spoke of forgiveness and reached out to sinners. Second, John was imprisoned and knew his life hung by a thread. He was under terrible strain. Awful thoughts can torment people in such circumstances. Even someone as great as John had doubts when he was suffering and troubled. However, he handled these doubts well: rather than hiding them he brought them to Christ, who answered his question by pointing him to his miraculous deeds. These deeds proved that Jesus was the Messiah, for they showed that he was fulfilling the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61, which he had claimed as his mission statement at the start of his public ministry (Luke 4:16–21).

Jesus’ attitude to the doubting John is deeply touching. He did not criticise him, but publicly reaffirmed him in his role as his forerunner and acknowledged him to be a great man. John’s doubts did not cause Jesus to think less of him. He ensured that the crowd knew that, despite his wobble of faith, John was not normally a fickle man whose opinions changed like ‘a reed swayed by the wind’ (see v 24). What grace Christ showed towards the wavering John! What encouragement this is to us when we doubt!

Spend time being honest with God. What are you struggling with? What doubts are playing on your mind? Thank God for his mercy to us in our weaknesses.

Caroline Fletcher

 

 




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In Christ alone
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com



Rejoice, God is now with us
Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 2007 Make Way Music
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Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 12 June 2019

    Peter was miraculously released from prison, and so were Paul and Silas. Sometimes I have great sympathy for those who think our faith makes no sense! Thank you Rosemary and others who encourage us to pray on in faith, knowing that God is moving in response, whether obvious miracles occur or not. Angela, that is a beautiful insight that in the weeping mother Jesus may very likely have seen His own mother’s future. Anthony, oops, I am sorry for that.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    V20 Interesting that the man who Jesus said was the greatest of all OT people (Matt 11:11) had doubts even after God had borne witness in his heart as to who Jesus was. V28 John and all the great OT prophets were not a born-again “new creature” in Christ. John operated under the Old Covenant when none of these promises were yet in effect. Jesus established a new order, “the kingdom of God,” in which these promises became effective. God saw John and all of the Old Testament prophets through the Law. He sees us through Jesus. Father thank you that we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) and full-fledged children of God (1 John 3:2). May our lives reflect these truths in our thoughts, words and deeds, in Jesus name, Amen.

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    Isaiah reassured.....Tell everyone who is discouraged “Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue”. Jesus emphasises that God’s Kingdom has arrived and is to be welcomed and accepted “How Happy are those who have no doubts about me!” (Verse23). John, and those baptised by Him , can feel confident that God is at work among them and is the rescue of all mankind. May we be happy knowing that belief gives us the right to become God’s children.....God himself is our Father.

  • Roger Hall | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    There is so much mystery here, however we look at it. No one seems to have stopped visitors visiting John in prison! However, there is some sign of mercy between God, Jesus and John. Healing, casting out demons and so on seems to suggest that for John, and for all God's sons, a very special dose of Holy Spirit as martyrdom approaches. Did not Stephen see into the Throne room of God, Jesus standing before the Lord?

  • Valerie Bogle | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    David - thank you so much for asking about Caroline. We all prayed for her as we prayed for Martin and even more for her family to come to know Jesus as their Saviour. Sadly our prayers for physical healing were not answered and she died. Only the Lord knows their hearts. God's ways are past finding out.

  • Jack Russell | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    So in saying what he has about the "people of this generation" it is that he and John were not being the monkey to their organ grinding. That will have got up the noses of a few folks. so he is distinguishing between this with "children" calling out in the marketplace, probably an allusion to differing opinons, philosophies, in a marketplace of ideas so to speak. And other "children" who are wise. Separating the wheat from the chaff. The truth is that both are in all of us. there are times when we act foolishly, and others when we are wise. The line between good and evil is drawn down every human. It's interesting that tax collectors were counted among the wise whereas Pharisees and experts in Jewish Law, in other words the religious were not. I suspect that there were tax collectors that were foolish and Pharisees which were wise. Perhaps it is for rhetorical effect - to be shocking and to do something that people will remember that Luke writes in such a way.

  • Peter Moore | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEWIyqywX0Q&;list=RDMMSEWIyqywX0Q&index=1

  • Peter Moore | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    I hope that you can hear the words of the song. Still astounded by the compassion of Jesus. To the centurion. The widow. John in dire circumstances. And praise God to me and you. Love to you all from Peter

  • Geraldine White | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    Beautiful words, thank you Peter.

  • Louise Knight | Thursday, 13 June 2019

    #Biblepassage:Luke7:18–35. WWJD. 21At that time Jesus was healing many people who were sick or in pain or were troubled by evil spirits, and he was giving sight to a lot of blind people.

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