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The Prophet and the Messiah

by Rev. Kirby Williams

John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets, comes to know the true Messiah of Scripture.

Text: Luke 7:18-23
Date: 07/24/2022, the Combined service.
Series: "Luke: Thy Kingdom Come" Part 69

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As Luke continues to describe the Galilean ministry of Jesus, the major theme of the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth is continually evident. But a close observer might question the way Jesus is going about it. After all, the prophets spoke of His power and judgment on the wicked and a Kingdom that knows no end. But Jesus seems to be focused on a small number of disciples, associating with people of suspect morals, opposing the traditions of the Jews, and healing and ministering primarily to the poor. How will He create a mighty Kingdom with these methods? One such close observer was John the Baptist, the one who came to prepare the way for the Lord. But as he was languishing in prison, he began to doubt that Jesus could be the Christ because He was not fitting into the mold both he and his culture had created for the Messiah. We will analyze John's confusion and find that many of the same factors that led to his doubt are plaguing and indeed crippling the church today. We will discover that the problem is not in Jesus, but in our own inability to comprehend Him as the divine Son of God-- infinite in both compassion and holiness. Ultimately Jesus will reveal the solution to this dilemma for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, with a powerful lesson for both John the Baptist and the church today-- as the last of the Old Testament prophets comes to know the true Messiah of Scripture.

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I. Introduction
A. The task of establishing the Kingdom of God.
1. The devil's strategy.
2. How "not" to establish a mighty Kingdom.
B. Understandable confusion.
II. Exposition of the text, Luke 7:18-23.
A. Context
1. Tracing the development of the Kingdom.
2. Recalling the situation of John the Baptist, John 3:30.
B. The prophet's concerns, vs. 18-20.
1. Setting the scene, vs. 18-19a.
a. Hearing from prison, Luke 7:17.
b. Sending his disciples to Jesus.
i. John the Baptist is the one with doubt.
ii. He took his doubts directly to Jesus.
2. John the Baptist's question, vs. 19-20.
a. Noticing the repetition.
b. Analyzing John the Baptist's doubt, Luke 7:28.
i. John the Baptist is in prison.
• A ministry on hold.
• Expectations of deliverance, Isa. 61:1.
• The issue of fairness, John 1:23, Job 19:7, 12:4,6.
• A reason for doubt.
ii. Mis-interpretation of Revelation.
• Selective interpretation, Psa. 22:1, Isa. 53:12, John 1:29,32-34, Acts 1:6.
• Just another prophet, Matt. 16:14.
• Prophetic foreshortening.
iii. John the Baptist as an Old Testament prophet.
• Expecting Judgment, hearing "grace", Luke 3:7-9,17.
• The Law and the Gospel, Job 21:7-9, Jer. 12:1.
C. The Messiah's answers, vs. 21-23.
1. Emphasizing God's Providence, vs. 21.
a. Another divine appointment.
b. The scope of Jesus' authority, Luke 7:7-8.
c. The nature of Jesus' healing ministry.
i. Relieving suffering.
ii. The "one-two-punch" of Apostling.
2. Jesus' answer, vs. 22-23.
a. Evidence of the Christ, vs. 22.
i. The Old Testament connection, Isa. 35:5-6, 61:1.
ii. Listing the evidences.
• The blind receive their sight, Isa. 35:5, Luke 6;39, 2Pet. 1:9, 2Cor. 4:4.
• The lame walk.
• Lepers are cleansed.
• The deaf hear.
• The dead are raised, John 3:17,18.
• The poor have good news preached to them, Isa. 61:1, Luke 4:43.
b. The 5th Beatitude, vs. 23.
i. Revisiting "makarios".
ii. Revisiting "skandalizo".
• The meaning to John the Baptist.
• The meaning to the church, Matt. 26:31.
III. Application
A. Getting to the heart of the problem.
1. Wrong preconceptions about Jesus.
2. Wrong preconceptions engender doubt.
3. Doubt leads to offense.
4. The nature of the problem.
a. An over-emphasis on judgment.
b. An over-emphasis on grace, John 5:22, 2Cor. 5:10, Psa. 2:12, Rev. 19:15,16.
5. The root of the problem, Ex. 34:6-7.
B. Getting to the heart of the solution.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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