Wednesday, October 5, 2016

5 October 2016
Luke 7:18-35

Good morning, welcome. Today Jesus addresses doubt, unbelief, and false expectations.

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Luke 7:18-19 (NRSV)
John knew Jesus was coming. God Himself had promised John a sign-he would be the one on whom John saw the Spirit descend and remain. John would tell his followers he saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and rest on Jesus; he would tell them “I myself have seen and testify that this is the Son of God” (Jn1:24). Having seen these things, why on earth would he doubt?
John was in prison when he sent his followers to question Jesus; he had been there for months. Like most Israelites, he was probably expecting the Messiah to restore the Davidic monarchy which in turn would release Israel from bondage to Rome and establish her once again as a world power. This was how they had known and experienced God’s favor in the past and this is what they were expecting; this is what John was expecting.

And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” Luke 7:22-23 (NRSV)
Jesus does not criticize or berate John for this apparent lack of faith. He points to what He has been doing as demonstrations of the presence of God and says ‘blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me’. It may not be what you expected but know for certain I am fulfilling the Father’s purpose. The Kingdom of God has come and this is what it looks like. Now, it is up to you. Believe it, or don’t.

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? Luke 7:24 (NRSV)
Now Jesus addresses the crowd’s expectations. He says ‘when you went to see John, were you expecting a prophet? In fact, John was more than a prophet-he was my herald. He was preparing the way for me.’ Then Luke says something interesting-those who accepted John’s baptism accepted God’s justice; those who refused John’s baptism refused God’s purpose for themselves. Repentance and forgiveness are God’s justice; restoration is His purpose.

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” Luke 7:33-35 (NRSV)
Jesus now seems to be telling this crowd they are never happy; they are critical of everything and everyone. Their expectations for a Messiah were not being met, and whose fault is that? John says he’s a prophet but look at how he acts. Jesus says He’s the Messiah; He’s performing miracles left and right but He hangs out with sinners. What’s up with that? Do you see what’s happening here? Jesus is being judged from a human perspective; He is not living up to their expectations of what a Messiah should be doing. The problem here is Jesus is demonstrating who God is, which isn’t always who we would like Him to be.

 Expectations in and of themselves are not bad and are even necessary at times. However, judging others by whether or not they live up to your personal expectations-especially expectations you yourself cannot live up to-is a type of legalism that can be especially damaging. The opposite of expectation is acceptance; love is present when expectation and acceptance are in balance.

May the Lord bless you and keep you this day. JRG

No comments:

Post a Comment