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 is 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 is 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 cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble 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 wilderness 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 the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31 Jesus went on to say, “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 pipe 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.”
Pressing Questions (7:18–28)
As he languishes in prison, John the Baptist sends his followers to Jesus to clear up some confusion. Notice that John does not doubt that Jesus is sent from God; he is simply inquiring. It is normal for us to doubt and even ask God for reassurance. But doubt, whether toward the Bible’s teachings or because of painful experiences, should always drive us toward God, not away from Him. After all, Jesus’ remarkable statement in verse 28 reminds us that we are members of the new covenant, perfectly purchased and sealed by His blood, so nothing can diminish our status with Him. Even in the midst of turmoil and doubt, we should pursue Him and find rest before His throne of grace.
- What kinds of doubt do you struggle with in your Christian walk? How does belonging to Jesus help you find peace and assurance?
Lingering Cynicism (7:29–35)
Jesus tells a short parable where he compares His generation to spoiled children who refuse to participate in the activities of their peers. The Pharisees criticize Jesus for His willingness to dine with “sinners” yet also reject John who practices strict abstinence. While this warning is aimed at unbelievers, we must also be careful not to have this attitude in our own lives. It is all too tempting to sit cynically on the sidelines and judge the way that other believers practice their faith. It is better for us to be like the tax collectors, who come to Jesus with nothing except their brokenness and sin. Having an open heart toward God allows Him to work in our lives and produce lasting change.
- Why is cynicism destructive for believers? How can you better cultivate a childlike heart that eagerly participates in the things of God?
A letter to God
Dear Lord, I bring You my doubts because I know that You can handle them. May my brokenness bring me closer to You, not farther away. And help me to always have a childlike heart that lives to please You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.