7:24 When 1 John’s messengers had gone, Jesus 2 began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness 3 to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 4 7:25 What 5 did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy 6 clothes? 7 Look, those who wear fancy clothes and live in luxury 8 are in kings’ courts! 9 7:26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more 10 than a prophet. 7:27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 11 who will prepare your way before you.’ 12 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater 13 than John. 14 Yet the one who is least 15 in the kingdom of God 16 is greater than he is.” 7:29 (Now 17 all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, 18 acknowledged 19 God’s justice, because they had been baptized 20 with John’s baptism. 7:30 However, the Pharisees 21 and the experts in religious law 22 rejected God’s purpose 23 for themselves, because they had not been baptized 24 by John. 25 ) 26
‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; 29
we wailed in mourning, 30 yet you did not weep.’
1 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn Or “desert.”
4 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.
6 tn Or “soft”; see L&N 79.100.
7 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.
8 tn See L&N 88.253, “to revel, to carouse, to live a life of luxury.”
9 tn Or “palaces.”
10 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.).
11 tn Grk “before your face” (an idiom).
12 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.
13 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.
14 tc The earliest and best
15 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.
16 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.
17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the parenthetical nature of the comment by the author.
19 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.
20 tn The participle βαπτισθέντες (baptisqente") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.
23 tn Or “plan.”
24 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.
25 tn Grk “by him”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
28 tn Grk “They are like children sitting…and calling out…who say.”
29 sn ‘We 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.
30 tn The verb ἐθρηνήσαμεν (eqrhnhsamen) refers to the loud wailing and lamenting used to mourn the dead in public in 1st century Jewish culture.
31 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.
32 tn Grk “neither eating bread nor drinking wine,” but this is somewhat awkward in contemporary English.
33 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.