Luke 7:24-35: Jesus Vindicates John the Baptist
Have you ever been slandered and gossiped about and totally misunderstood? John the Baptist was a faithful servant of God but who had been slandered, in v33 he was even accused of having had a demon. We have been looking at a section where John the Baptist has sent some of his disciples to ask whether Jesus is the Messiah, we see Jesus give a yes answer substantiated by evidence that the promises of God are coming to pass. After John’s disciples leave we are left with Christ talking about John the Baptist before the crowds. Jesus defends John’ reputation and puts his ministry in the clearest light. Remember John was languishing in prison, his public ministry was not always understood as some mistook him for the Messiah, but he has also been a victim of the fickle mass’s swing in allegiance and a slander campaign from the opposition. Two things stand out already as we begin. Firstly, that Jesus rushes to defend a slandered believer, and secondly that Jesus helps us see things more clearly. By clarifying who John is and what he had come to do, we can see Jesus and ourselves more clearly. As believes we often share in John’s experience of being slandered and not being able to set the record straight. Ryle writes,
‘There is comfort here for all believers who are suspected, slandered, and falsely accused. Few are the children of God who do not suffer in this way, at some time or other. The accuser of the brethren knows well that character is one of the points in which he can most easily wound a Christian. He knows well that slanders are easily called into existence, greedily received and propagated, and seldom entirely silenced. Lies and false reports are the chosen weapons by which he labours to injure the Christian’s usefulness, and destroy his peace. But let all who are assaulted in their characters rest in the thought that they have an Advocate in heaven who knows their sorrows. That same Jesus who maintained the character of His imprisoned servant before a Jewish crowd, will never desert any of His people. The world may frown on them. Their names may be cast out as evil by man. But Jesus never changes, and will one day plead their cause before the whole world.’
As we look at this section we have four headings we want to explore: John’s character, calling, impact and critics.