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Luke 7:28-30

7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater 1  than John. 2  Yet the one who is least 3  in the kingdom of God 4  is greater than he is.” 7:29 (Now 5  all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, 6  acknowledged 7  God’s justice, because they had been baptized 8  with John’s baptism. 7:30 However, the Pharisees 9  and the experts in religious law 10  rejected God’s purpose 11  for themselves, because they had not been baptized 12  by John. 13 ) 14 

1 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.

2 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).

3 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.

4 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.

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

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

7 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.

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

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

10 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).

11 tn Or “plan.”

12 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.

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

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

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