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Luke 7:18-35

Context
Jesus and John the Baptist

7:18 John’s 1  disciples informed him about all these things. So 2  John called 3  two of his disciples 7:19 and sent them to Jesus 4  to ask, 5  “Are you the one who is to come, 6  or should we look for another?” 7:20 When 7  the men came to Jesus, 8  they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 9  ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” 10  7:21 At that very time 11  Jesus 12  cured many people of diseases, sicknesses, 13  and evil spirits, and granted 14  sight to many who were blind. 7:22 So 15  he answered them, 16  “Go tell 17  John what you have seen and heard: 18  The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the 19  deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news proclaimed to them. 7:23 Blessed is anyone 20  who takes no offense at me.”

7:24 When 21  John’s messengers had gone, Jesus 22  began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness 23  to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 24  7:25 What 25  did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy 26  clothes? 27  Look, those who wear fancy clothes and live in luxury 28  are in kings’ courts! 29  7:26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more 30  than a prophet. 7:27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 31  who will prepare your way before you.’ 32  7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater 33  than John. 34  Yet the one who is least 35  in the kingdom of God 36  is greater than he is.” 7:29 (Now 37  all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, 38  acknowledged 39  God’s justice, because they had been baptized 40  with John’s baptism. 7:30 However, the Pharisees 41  and the experts in religious law 42  rejected God’s purpose 43  for themselves, because they had not been baptized 44  by John. 45 ) 46 

7:31 “To what then should I compare the people 47  of this generation, and what are they like? 7:32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another, 48 

‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; 49 

we wailed in mourning, 50  yet you did not weep.’

7:33 For John the Baptist has come 51  eating no bread and drinking no wine, 52  and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 53  7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him, 54  a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 55  7:35 But wisdom is vindicated 56  by all her children.” 57 

1 tn Grk “And John’s.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. This is a reference to John the Baptist as the following context makes clear.

2 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that John’s action was a result of the report he had heard.

3 tn Grk “And calling two of his disciples, John sent.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

4 tc ‡ Although most mss (א A W Θ Ψ Ë1 Ï it sy bo) read πρὸς τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν (pro" ton Ihsoun, “to Jesus”), other important witnesses (B L Ξ Ë13 33 pc sa) read πρὸς τὸν κύριον (pro" ton kurion, “to the Lord”). A decision is difficult in this instance, as there are good witnesses on both sides. In light of this, that “Jesus” is more widespread than “the Lord” with almost equally important witnesses argues for its authenticity.

5 tn Grk “to Jesus, saying,” but since this takes the form of a question, it is preferable to use the phrase “to ask” in English.

6 sn Aspects of Jesus’ ministry may have led John to question whether Jesus was the promised stronger and greater one who is to come that he had preached about in Luke 3:15-17.

7 tn Grk “And when.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

8 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Grk “to you, saying,” but since this takes the form of a question, it is preferable to use the phrase “to ask” in English.

10 tn This question is repeated word for word from v. 19.

11 tn Grk “In that hour.”

12 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 tn Grk “and sicknesses,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

14 tn Or “and bestowed (sight) on.”

15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the relationship to Jesus’ miraculous cures in the preceding sentence.

16 tn Grk “answering, he said to them.” This is redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation to “he answered them.”

17 sn The same verb has been translated “inform” in 7:18.

18 sn What you have seen and heard. The following activities all paraphrase various OT descriptions of the time of promised salvation: Isa 35:5-6; 26:19; 29:18-19; 61:1. Jesus is answering not by acknowledging a title, but by pointing to the nature of his works, thus indicating the nature of the time.

19 tn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

20 tn Grk “whoever.”

21 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

22 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

23 tn Or “desert.”

24 tn There is a debate as to whether one should read this figuratively (“to see someone who is easily blown over?”) or literally (Grk “to see the wilderness vegetation?…No, to see a prophet”). Either view makes good sense, but the following examples suggest the question should be read literally and understood to point to the fact that a prophet drew them to the desert.

25 tn Grk “But what.” Here ἀλλά (alla, a strong contrastive in Greek) produces a somewhat awkward sense in English, and has not been translated. The same situation occurs at the beginning of v. 26.

26 tn Or “soft”; see L&N 79.100.

27 sn The reference to fancy clothes makes the point that John was not rich or powerful, in that he did not come from the wealthy classes.

28 tn See L&N 88.253, “to revel, to carouse, to live a life of luxury.”

29 tn Or “palaces.”

30 tn John the Baptist is “more” because he introduces the one (Jesus) who brings the new era. The term is neuter, but may be understood as masculine in this context (BDAG 806 s.v. περισσότερος b.).

31 tn Grk “before your face” (an idiom).

32 sn The quotation is primarily from Mal 3:1 with pronouns from Exod 23:20. Here is the forerunner who points the way to the arrival of God’s salvation. His job is to prepare and guide the people, as the cloud did for Israel in the desert.

33 sn In the Greek text greater is at the beginning of the clause in the emphatic position. John the Baptist was the greatest man of the old era.

34 tc The earliest and best mss read simply ᾿Ιωάννου (Iwannou, “John”) here (Ì75 א B L W Ξ Ë1 579 pc). Others turn this into “John the Baptist” (K 33 565 al it), “the prophet John the Baptist” (A [D] Θ Ë13 Ï lat), or “the prophet John” (Ψ 700 [892 1241] pc). “It appears that προφήτης was inserted by pedantic copyists who wished thereby to exclude Christ from the comparison, while others added τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ, assimilating the text to Mt 11.11” (TCGNT 119).

35 sn After John comes a shift of eras. The new era is so great that the lowest member of it (the one who is least in the kingdom of God) is greater than the greatest one of the previous era.

36 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ proclamation. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21. It is not strictly future, though its full manifestation is yet to come. That is why membership in it starts right after John the Baptist.

37 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the parenthetical nature of the comment by the author.

38 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.

39 tn Or “vindicated God”; Grk “justified God.” This could be expanded to “vindicated and responded to God.” The point is that God’s goodness and grace as evidenced in the invitation to John was justified and responded to by the group one might least expect, tax collector and sinners. They had more spiritual sensitivity than others. The contrastive response is clear from v. 30.

40 tn The participle βαπτισθέντες (baptisqente") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.

41 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.

42 tn That is, the experts in the interpretation of the Mosaic law (see also Luke 5:17, although the Greek term is not identical there, and Luke 10:25, where it is the same).

43 tn Or “plan.”

44 tn The participle βαπτισθέντες (baptisqente") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle; it could also be translated as means (“for themselves, by not having been baptized”). This is similar to the translation found in the NRSV.

45 tn Grk “by him”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

46 sn Luke 7:29-30 forms something of an aside by the author. To indicate this, they have been placed in parentheses.

47 tn Grk “men,” but this is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"). The comparison that follows in vv. 32-34 describes “this generation,” not Jesus and John.

48 tn Grk “They are like children sitting…and calling out…who say.”

49 snWe played the flute for you, yet you did not dance…’ The children of this generation were making the complaint (see vv. 33-34) that others were not playing the game according to the way they played the music. John and Jesus did not follow “their tune.” Jesus’ complaint was that this generation wanted things their way, not God’s.

50 tn The verb ἐθρηνήσαμεν (eqrhnhsamen) refers to the loud wailing and lamenting used to mourn the dead in public in 1st century Jewish culture.

51 tn The perfect tenses in both this verse and the next do more than mere aorists would. They not only summarize, but suggest the characteristics of each ministry were still in existence at the time of speaking.

52 tn Grk “neither eating bread nor drinking wine,” but this is somewhat awkward in contemporary English.

53 sn John the Baptist was too separatist and ascetic for some, and so he was accused of not being directed by God, but by a demon.

54 tn Grk “Behold a man.”

55 sn Neither were they happy with Jesus (the Son of Man), even though he was the opposite of John and associated freely with people like tax collectors and sinners. Either way, God’s messengers were subject to complaint.

56 tn Or “shown to be right.” This is the same verb translated “acknowledged… justice” in v. 29, with a similar sense – including the notion of response. Wisdom’s children are those who respond to God through John and Jesus.

57 tn Or “by all those who follow her” (cf. CEV, NLT). Note that the parallel in Matt 11:19 reads “by her deeds.”



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