Luke 7:11-23

A Witness

In verses 11-17 of our study we read that when Jesus came to the city of Nain a man who had died was being carried out. He was the only son of a widow. Jesus had compassion for her and touched the coffin and the man was raised to life. The response of the people is recorded in verse 16, “And fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and, ‘God has visited His people!’” NASB

The Greek word translated fear in this verse means “fear of God.” Their fear of God resulted in them being a witness for God as they testified to people in the surrounding areas what Jesus had done. As a result, many people were coming to Jesus to be healed.

In verse 18 we read that two of the disciples of John the Baptist, who was in jail, told John what Jesus was doing. John sent them back to ask if Jesus was the Messiah they were expecting to come or was there another one they should expect?

Apparently, John was expecting Jesus to restore the nation of Israel, making it independent of Rome. Languishing in prison he is wondering why it is taking Jesus so long. John’s expectation is rooted in his worldly understanding of how nations and kingdoms work in the world. He is projecting this understanding on Jesus and not understanding God’s plan. God’s definition of the coming Kingdom is quite different from the world’s view of kingdoms and nations.

It is the tendency of people to want to restore what once was, thinking things were better in the past. I am not trying to argue that we shouldn’t strive to make our world better but that can only be accomplished as Jesus becomes Lord in the lives of people. I am grateful for the Christian heritage of our nation and that it was founded on Christian principles. But our nation is not the coming Kingdom spoken of in the Bible. I do pray for our leaders as Paul instructed in 1 Timothy. I pray that the goals of our leaders will be justice and righteousness. I pray for a revival in the Church and an awakening in our nation and the world, but the most important prayer I pray is “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” However, I need to understand that God’s plan for the world is very different than anything I have seen, experienced. 

Jesus gives us a clue about what John was doing. In Verse 23 John was stumbling and about to fall to his ruin. This is the definition of the Greek word skandalizo that is translated “stumble” in this passage. Simply put, John was beginning to doubt. We all have fears and doubts. He was trying to conform God’s plan to his own expectations. Jesus responded by telling John’s disciples to look at what He was doing and go report back that miracles were happening but there was much more to come.

One day Jesus will return and set up the Millennial Kingdom. This Kingdom will demonstrate what the world could have been if God’s ways were followed. It will be far better than anything we thought we had in the past or hope to make happen now. If we abandon our hope in Christ Jesus and the coming Kingdom we will only be stumbling ourselves to our own ruin. There is nowhere else to turn. We need to keep our focus on the Lord and His plan and promise.

Don’t let fears our doubts cause you to stumble.

Pastor Dave