Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 7:23-35

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Luke 7:23

Jesus's actions may cause some to doubt, but those that persevere in faith will be blessed. This was directed at John, but true for all who encounter Jesus through the Scriptures in every age.

Luke 7:24-26

Jesus asked a variation of the question What did you see? three times. This repetition pushed the people toward a true understanding of John. Jesus challenged any thoughts of John's insignificance by reminding the people why they went to hear John preach. He was a true prophet (vv. 26, 28). In this way, Jesus vindicated John despite his momentary wavering (see note on vv. 19-20). Understanding John would lead to understanding Jesus.

Luke 7:24

reed shaken. Picture of something weak and wavering. John was the opposite. He spoke with clarity and conviction, decried sin and hypocrisy, and called people to God (3:1-18). John's uncompromising convictions against Herod and his regime had ended with John in prison. Still he did not waver. 3:19-20).

Luke 7:25

soft . . . expensive clothing. Representative of those who enjoyed an easy life marked by luxury. By contrast, John lived a rugged lifestyle. He wore rough clothing and lived in the wilderness (3:2; Matt. 3:4).

Luke 7:26-27

John was the greatest prophet (see note on v. 28). He was the hinge between the old and new covenants who prepared the way for the promised Christ (see notes on 3:4-6). His ministry did not ease consciences. He preached a strong message of repentance and faith and prepared people for Jesus.

Luke 7:28

none is greater. John is the greatest because he is the final prophet of the old covenant. The previous prophets knew the Christ was coming. But John had the privilege of seeing the Christ come into the world, bringing the kingdom with him. His entire life and ministry was about calling people to be ready to receive Jesus and the salvation he secured. least . . . is greater. Given John's greatness, Jesus's statement about the least of the kingdom is surprising. The difference is that John never saw Jesus in light of the cross and resurrection. He wasn't part of the kingdom Jesus brought, but remained as part of the old covenant. Thus, new covenant Christians have a greater understanding of Jesus and deeper experience of life in him.

Luke 7:30

Those who had heard John preach and embraced his message agreed with Jesus's assessment (vv. 25-28). Moreover, they acknowledged the righteousness of God's declaration of their sinfulness and call for repentance.

Luke 7:31-34

this generation. Not every person, but the leadership that represented them (v. 30). children. Weddings of the day included joyous tunes and dancing. Funerals were known for the sounds of weeping and mournful dirges. Children would play games around what they saw in life. By analogy, the leadership saw the ministries of John and Jesus. The leadership despised John because he was too harsh with God's people. On the other hand, Jesus welcomed sinners and outsiders. Like disgruntled children, the leaders refused to join in and demand their own way (v. 32). They hated the preaching of the repentance and despised the joy of the gospel. They were hypocrites without true faith.

Luke 7:35

God's wisdom is personified as a woman (Prov. 8) who gives birth to children. These children prove wisdom is right in all she says and does because they are right in all they say or do (see Matt. 11:19). John and Jesus are the children of wisdom. Though criticized for their ministries, they showed the wisdom of God in the gospel.

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