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24 Luke 7.24-35

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“And now, the rest of the story…”

Luke 7:24-35

v    Opening Illustration

Ø     Over in Japan

Ø     Newspaper had column by Paul Harvey

·        Called…

¨     “The rest of the story…”

§        In these columns, Paul Harvey gives us the story behind the story of history, news and events

·        Possible example here

v    In the previous verses 7:18-24 we are told of how John the Baptist while sitting in prison began to doubt Jesus as the Messiah

Ø     He sent two of his disciples to ask…

§        “Are you the one, or should we expect another”

·        Jesus simply told him to look at the evidence

¨     Blind, lame, leprosy, deaf, dead, poor

v    The crowd standing around must have heard this interchange

Ø     And Jesus sensing that they would wrongly depreciate John’s ministry…

§        Decided to answer the questions swirling around in their heads about John’s Position, Ministry and Faith

·        In effect giving them and us

¨     “The rest of the story…”


READ 7:24-30


John’s Position

v    Notice how quick Jesus is to reinforce John’s position as a Prophet

Ø     Right after John’s disciples left he turns to the people who have overheard the interchange and asks…

Ø     V. 26 ~ “What did you go out to see. A Prophet?”

§        His answer…YES

Ø     The doubt shown by John does not diminish him as a prophet of God

§        As we saw several weeks ago…

·        Even great men of God have their times of weakness

¨     Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, David

§        Jesus wants to reassure the people that John was indeed a prophet

·        Even though some of his prophecies were not coming about…

¨     …YET


§        We must remember why John had doubt?

·        He prophesied that the Messiah would usher in a time of judgment

¨     3:17 ~ Winnowing fork in his hand, burn chaff with unquenchable fire

¨     3:9 ~ Ready to cut the bad trees down and throw them into the fire

§        And these prophesies were not coming true

·        So he doubted

v    But what we have to understand something about prophecy

Ø     But like so many prophets before him…

§        John was given prophecy of both Jesus’ first and second coming

Ø     Turn to the book of Zephaniah (p.1463)

§        “Day of the Lord” language = Messiah’s coming

·        Zephaniah 1:7 ~ Day of Lord will be a time of sacrifice

¨     However, 7 verses later in Zephaniah, he prophesies about the “Day of the Lord” and it is totally different

·        Zephaniah 1:14-18

¨     Well, come on, which is it!

Ø     It is both!!

Ø     Zeph 1:7 is predicting the first advent as a time of sacrifice and consecration

§        This is the first advent that Isaiah talks in his 53rd chapter (Isa 53:4-6)

·        Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

¨     Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are consecrated!

Ø     And John prophesied this when he saw Jesus for the first time and declared…

§        “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29)

§        Like John, Zephaniah also prophesied about the second advent

·        That is what Zeph 1:14-18 is all about

¨     A time of judgment, wrath, darkness and anguish

Ø     And that is what John predicts when he states that the winnowing fork is in his hand, etc

Ø     So John was given prophecy by God as those before him were

§        A complete picture of God’s redemptive purposes

·        Sacrifice (grace) and judgment

v    But Jesus goes even a step further than affirming John as a true prophet

Ø     Jesus tells the crowd that ‘He is more than a prophet’

§        He not only was a prophet, but was the “Prophet of prophesy”

·        The prophet promised in Mal 3:1 which Jesus quotes

¨      The prophet Elijah of Mal 4:5    

Ø     See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes

v    But there is another question in the people’s minds that Jesus wants to address

Ø     Namely, questions about…

John’s Ministry

v    Jesus addresses this through his question found in V. 25

Ø     “What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes?”

§        The question in people’s minds was…

·        If John’s ministry is blessed by God, why doesn’t it look like it

¨     Big and Beautiful

Ø     B2…that is how the world defines success

Ø     But look at John

§        Look at what he wore

·        Mk 1:6

¨     Clothing made out of camel’s hair, leather belt, ate locust and wild honey

Ø     That’s not success!

§        Look at where he preached…

·        In the desert

§        Look where he is

·        Chained in Herod’s dungeon slated to be executed

§        Look at his ministry

·        All but gone, diminished, shrunk

¨     Still had a few disciples, but most left to follow Jesus

v    The crowd was looking at John’s ministry and saying…

Ø     Where are the palaces

Ø     Where are the fine clothes

§        Where are the trappings of success

v    So Jesus asks a simple question…

Ø     “What did you go out to see?”

§        B2 ~ Big and Beautiful?

v    You see…

Ø     The people are thinking in their minds…

§        Here is the prophet of prophecy,

§        The man who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah,

§        The man that Jesus says…

·        “among those born of woman there is no one greater”

¨     And look at his ministry, look at where it has led him!

Ø     Was John’s ministry really blessed by God?

v    So Jesus asks a simple question…

Ø     “What did you go out to see?”

§        B2 ~ Big and Beautiful?

v    What Jesus was trying to teach the crowd…

v    What Jesus is trying to teach us is…

Ø     B2 is not what we should be looking for

§        Illustration of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

·        Nazi scientist thought that Holy Grail would be ornate

¨     “That is the cup of the King of Kings”

·        Jones picked cup of a carpenter

¨     Humble, plain, clay cup

Ø     The marks of a successful ministry in God’s eyes is not B2,

Ø     I can think of a couple of other letters…O & H

§        but Obedience and Humility

·        Obedience in doing what the Lord commands

¨     and

·        The Humility to accept the Lord’s will

v    And that describes Jesus’ ministry to a tee!

Ø      Phil 2:8

§        He humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

·        Jesus’ ministry ended in utter failure in the world’s eye’s

¨     Embarrassing death of leader

¨     Scattered followers

v    If John’s ministry didn’t measure up to the B2 standard

v    If Jesus’ ministry didn’t measure up to the B2 standard…

Ø     Why are we trying to measure up to it!!!

§        Why are we measuring churches success by  “palaces and expensive clothes”

v    This is the cancer that Jesus was fighting against…And we must too!

Ø     We are so encouraged when we have many in church

§        And so disheartened when we have a few

·        I go through this too!

¨     I am tempted to measure success by the B2 standard

Ø     Sometimes overpowered to look at the attendance sheet in the back corner

v    We all have to understand the principle that Paul laid down to the Corinthians

Ø     1 Cor 3:6 ~ I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow

§        Growth is up to God

·        Our job is to be Planters and waterers

¨     And then it is up to God

Ø     And if the Lord’s will for this church is that we stay at 50-60

§        I am fine with that

·        I am fine with that with 2 conditions…

¨     Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ

Ø      2 Tim 2:15

§        Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth

·        KJV ~ “Study to show thyself approved”

·        I am fine with that if we are…

¨     Sharing the Gospel with those around us

Ø      1 Peter 3:15

§        Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

v    Our job is to plant and water…

Ø     God gives the growth

v    The last question that Jesus sensed needed answering was about John’s faith

John’s Faith

v    Here the crowd overheard doubt expressed by John

Ø     And they are thinking…

§        What kind of man is this?

§        First he tells us this is the Messiah, now he is unsure?

§        He is convinced one moment and doubting the next?

§        His faith is strong one moment and weak the next?

·        He is like a reed swaying back and forth in the wind

v    So Jesus asks the question that everybody is thinking about…

Ø     V. 24 ~ “What did you go out to see? A reed swaying in the wind?”

§        Jesus is telling the people that John is anything but a swaying reed!

·        Look at the difficult truths John preached:

¨     He was not swayed by the powerful religious leaders (Pharisees)

Ø     Called them “Brood of vipers”

¨     He was not swayed by the Political leaders (Herod)

Ø     Condemned him as an adulterer

¨     He was not swayed by popular opinion (the crowds)

Ø     Did not tickle their ears but preached…

§        Produce fruit in keeping with repentance

§        Beware the coming judgment

·        Not exactly crowd pleasers!

v    No, John was anything but a reed swaying in the wind where his faith was concerned

Ø     He stood solidly, stalwartly, steadily on the side of truth


Child-like or Child-ish Faith

v    And the Bible commends that we be the same way in our faith

Ø     God does not want us to be childish in our faith

§        Eph 4:14 describes this type of faith as that of…

§        …infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching…”

·        Easily swayed

Ø     Jesus adds to that description here in verse 31-32

§        This has been called the “parable of the spoiled brats”

·        Here we find that these children are…

¨     Never satisfied

Ø     No matter what tune is played, they do not participate

Ø     No matter what is offered they do not accept it

Ø     And that is how people with childish faith react to Jesus

§        Look at verses 33-34

·        Spoiled brats

·        Never satisfied


v    What Jesus does call us to be is child-like

Ø      In Matt 18:1-4, that is the example the he gives to his disciples

§        Come when Jesus calls

§        Stand on Jesus’ side

§        Trust Jesus wholeheartedly

·        That is the type of faith we are to have

A man was lost in the desert, dying for a drink of water. He stumbled upon an old shack, a windowless, roofless, weather-beaten old shack. He looked around and found a little shade from the heat of the desert sun. As he glanced around he saw a pump about fifteen feet away, an old, rusty water pump. He stumbled over to it, grabbed the handle, and began to pump up and down, up and down. Nothing came out.

Disappointed, he staggered back. He noticed off to the side an old jug. He looked at it, wiped away the dirt and dust, and read a message that said, "You have to prime the pump with all the water in this jug, but don’t forget to fill it for the next person”

He popped the cork out of the jug and sure enough, it was full of water! Suddenly, he was faced with a decision. If he drank the water, he could live. Ah, but if he poured all the water in the old rusty pump, maybe it would yield fresh, cool water from down deep in the well, all the water he wanted.

He studied the possibility of both options. What should he do, pour it into the old pump and take a chance on fresh, cool water or drink what was in the old jug and ignore its message? Should he waste all the water on the hopes of those flimsy instructions written, no telling how long ago?

Reluctantly he poured all the water into the pump. Then he grabbed the handle and began to pump. The pump squeaked and nothing came out. He pumped again, still nothing. He gave it one more try and slowly a little bit began to dribble out, then a small stream, and finally it gushed! To his relief fresh, cool water poured out of the rusty pump. Eagerly, he filled the jug and drank from it. He filled it another time and once again drank its refreshing contents.

Then he filled the jug for the next traveler. He filled it to the top, popped the cork back on, and added this little note: "Believe me, it really works. You have to give it all away before you can get anything back.”

v    That is the type of faith we are to have

Ø     The type of faith that must trust wholeheartedly in Jesus and be willing to pour our lives out for Jesus

§        To burn our lives at both ends for him

§        To give him our all

§        Our everything

§        Not holding anything back

v    And if we do that…

Ø     If we give it all away…

§        The reward is not water, but living water

·        Eternal life with Jesus


v    This is not the only time Jesus asks this question…

Ø     He asks it of his disciples in Luke 9

§        Who do you say that I am

Ø     He asks it of you and I

§        That is the question that we all have to answer in this lifetime

¨     And we can be misled if that is how we judge…

Ø     What would we think if we saw a group that…

§        Restored the hope of many people

§        Looked respectable in every way

§        Led a people back from the brink of collapse

§        Restored the fortunes of many people

§        Was powerful and generous

·        I just described the Nazi party of the 1930’s

¨     Through the world’s standards of the time, they were considered the saviors of the German people

Ø     It is so easy to use the B2 standard when judging the success of a church

§        The world says a church is successful if it is Big & Beautiful

·        If a church is growing in #’s

·        If a church is building a bigger building

¨     It is successful, it is doing something right, the Lord is blessing it

Ø     But many mega-churches today have more members than Jesus had ever had disciples!

§        What does that say to you if you use the B2 method of evaluation?

Ø     Many cults and other religions are growing faster than Christianity

§        What does that say to you if you use the B2 method of evaluation?

Ø     Gal 6:13-14

§        We have been crucified to the world

v    Jesus is even more explicit several years later in his ministry

Ø     After transfiguration Peter, James and John ask Jesus about Elijah prophecy

§        Matt 17:12

·        But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him

¨     Cementing John’s position as the prophet of prophesy

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