Jesus: The people of this generation—what are they like? To what can they be compared? I’ll tell you: they’re like spoiled kids sitting in the marketplace playing games, calling out,
We played the pipes for you,
but you didn’t dance to our tune!
We cried like mourners,
but you didn’t cry with us!
You can’t win with this generation. John the Baptist comes along, fasting and abstaining from wine, and you say, “This guy is demon-possessed!” The Son of Man comes along, feasting and drinking wine, and you say, “This guy is a glutton and a drunk, a friend of scoundrels and tax collectors!” Well, wisdom’s true children know wisdom when they hear it (vv. 31-35, The Voice).
When these reports reached John’s disciples, they brought news to John himself, who was known for his preaching and ritual cleansing. John sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord, “Are You the Promised One, or shall we keep looking for someone else?”
They came to Jesus and asked their question exactly as directed by John the Baptist.
Before He answered John’s messengers, Jesus cured many from various diseases, health conditions, and evil spirits. He even caused many blind people to regain their sight.
Jesus (to John’s disciples): Go and tell John what you’ve witnessed with your own eyes and ears: the blind are seeing again, the lame are walking again, the lepers are clean again, the deaf hear again, the dead live again, and good news is preached to the poor. Whoever is not offended by Me is blessed indeed.
When John’s messengers left, Jesus talked to the crowds about John.
Jesus: When you went out into the wilderness to see John, what were you expecting? A reed shaking in the wind? What were you looking for? A man in expensive clothing? Look, if you were looking for fancy clothes and luxurious living, you went to the wrong place—you should have gone to the kings’ courts, not to the wilderness! What were you seeking? A prophet? Ah yes, that’s what John is, and even more than a prophet. The prophet Malachi was talking about John when he wrote,
I will send My messenger before You,
to clear Your path in front of You.
Listen, there is no human being greater than this man, John the Baptist. Yet even the least significant person in the coming kingdom of God is greater than John.
The common people and tax collectors heard God’s own wisdom in Jesus’ assessment of John because they had been ritually cleansed through baptism by John. But the Pharisees and religious scholars hardened their hearts and turned their backs on God’s purposes for them because they had refused John’s baptism (vv. 18-30).
John the Baptist told the crowd, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
I’ve heard that the phrase “You brood of vipers” was not polite conversation. It was the equivalent of calling a group of people bastards today.
John the Potty-Mouthed Baptist.
A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.”
- Introduction for Theophilus
- Zechariah’s Vision
- Mary’s Vision
- Mary’s Song
- Zechariah’s Song
- John the Baptist’s Birth
#2-5 are a “ring” or chiasm structure.
grew up outside the cities of the day. This prepared him uniquely for his role in Jesus’ ministry.
In Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33, we read that John the Baptist drew an important distinction between his own ministry and Jesus’.
John says that he baptizes with water, but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
I’m reminded of the scene in The Miracle Maker where Jesus goes to his cousin, John, to be baptized.
Jesus reminds John of their childhood memories playing in the Jordan river.
It’s an intriguing thought.