John’s disciples told him about all these things. So John called two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the Coming One, or should we wait for someone else?”
When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the Coming One, or should we wait for someone else?'” At that time Jesus had healed many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits and had given sight to many who were blind. So he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have observed and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear again, the dead are raised, and the destitute hear the good news. How blessed is anyone who is not offended by me!”Luke 7:18-23
Note how the story now switches to John in prison down south, in or around Judea. We have already been told by Luke in 3:20 and by John in 3:24 that John was put in the prison and the incident which caused John to be put in prison happened in Judea in the south. There are those who feel John was imprisoned in Judea and others who feel he was imprisoned outside of Judea at Machaerus. We don’t know which exactly because the Scripture doesn’t tell us. But we do know it was in or close to Judea. It makes perfect sense of Luke’s comment at the end of the last segment (Luke 7:17) for the news of this event to reach Judea and the surrounding area. The text in this passage makes it clear that two of his disciples told him about all these things. Which two? Well the two from the crowd mentioned before of course. It is perfectly feasible for those within the crowd who were at the raising of the dead boy in Nain to take the news south themselves. Notice by the reference to Judea how Luke has linked these two pericopes. The “all these things” referred to, indicate John was told about the sermon on the plateau, the healing of the centurion son and the raising of the boy in Nain. His disciples were keeping John up to date with all that was going on with Jesus.
So John then calls for clarification. He tells his disciples, “Ask Jesus, ‘Are you the Coming One or not?’ “.
- What does John mean by “the Coming One”?
- Or maybe more pointedly I should ask what do you think he means by “the Coming One”?
- Is it crucial to our understanding of this interaction?
The second question has to be has John’s faith failed? Does the question John wanted his disciples to ask indicate that John is doubting his own preaching from before? Has John lost his faith in prison? There is much debate about this. What do you think about that? Has he or hasn’t he lost his faith? It certainly seems like it. Or is there another explanation behind the dialogue going on here?
I will leave it to simmer with you overnight. At least in this gem I have answered the question I posed to you in previous Gem. That’s fair enough isn’t it, to exchange one question for another? As long as I answer it right. I know some of you relish the questions. ‘Bring them on Ian. I love them. They show me where to dig.’ Good for you that’s the spirit. Well done good and faithful gemmer, you will learn the most with that attitude. I know too there are those of you who are not up to this section yet, even though you read and practice the Gems every day. Because you want to give yourself the space to “do the Gems” not just read them. So you save them in a file and work through them at your own pace. Good for you too. There are those who will simply wait for the next Gem to provide you with the answer. You are happy with the answers. But my question to you is will you remember it in a week, a month, a year from now? I can’t answer that, only you can.
And let me add yet some more questions to the mix:-
- Why has Luke suddenly switched the focus to John down south?
- Is that where he is focusing now?
- Why is John suddenly the centre of attention?
Enough questions for now. We will continue with this passage and pick it apart. Well, not all of it. There is just too much in every passage for us to handle it all. Jesus would be back and rapturing us before I could finish it all. Meet you back here in Nain.
A vision without passion is just another boring idea?Rick Godwin
Vision without execution is hallucination!Rick Godwin
We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too.Kristin Martz
Your greatest weakness is lack of self-confidence.Napoleon Hill
He never promises to remove us from our struggles, but He promises to change the way we look at them.Bob Gass