Jesus Marveled, A Raised Son, And Questions
Not Even In Israel
After Jesus delivered the sermon on the plain, emphasizing that the poor, hungry, mourning, and persecuted are blessed, we read about another situation where things are reversed. The centurion, a Gentile, displays the most significant faith that Jesus has seen, surpassing even those in Israel. The story highlights Jesus' ability to heal with just a word and even from afar, demonstrating his authority. Matthew also includes the story but with fewer details in comparison to Luke. Interestingly, Luke's version reveals that the centurion never speaks with Jesus himself but instead sends Jewish elders to request Jesus to heal his slave. The Jewish elders advocate for the centurion's cause by declaring him worthy because of his love for the Jewish nation and his financial contributions to the synagogue. However, the centurion sends messengers to Jesus, objecting that he does not deserve to have Jesus in his house. The man in charge understands that Jesus can heal without entering the house. Jesus is impressed by the man's strong faith and comments that it is even greater than what he has witnessed among the people of Israel. As a result, Jesus grants the centurion's request and heals his servant.
The Lord Saw Her
In Luke 7:1-10, Jesus healed the slave of a centurion with power and influence. However, in a separate account, Jesus healed the only son of a poor widow who represents those blessed among the poor (Luke 6:20). Luke emphasized Jesus' love for women and his concern for them in this story. In the small town of Nain, Jesus encounters a funeral procession where a widow's only son is being taken for burial. He feels compassionate toward the woman and asks her to stop crying. Jesus touches the bier and commands the young man to rise. To the amazement of everyone, the son sits up and speaks. Jesus then reunites him with his mother. The story revolves around Jesus as people recognize him as a prophet sent by God to help Israel. As expected, news of this miracle spreads rapidly.
A Reed Shaken By The Wind?
John the Baptist sends envoys to ask Jesus if he is the one they have been awaiting. Jesus responds to the question by using Old Testament references that describe the arrival of the kingdom, proving that his healing, exorcism, and preaching about the gospel fulfill the Scriptures' promises. Later, when John's messengers depart, Jesus talks about John's exceptional contribution to salvation history (verses 24-30). John was a prophet who attracted many people to the wilderness. Despite his popularity, his primary purpose was to prepare the way for the Lord. Because of this role, John was considered more significant than any Old Testament prophet. However, even the least member of the kingdom is considered greater than him.
People who collected taxes and those considered sinful were willing to receive John's baptism and acknowledged that God's ways were just. However, the Pharisees refused to be baptized by John as they did not want to submit to God's plan. The third part of the text talks about the present generation's stubbornness and unwillingness to accept both John and Jesus, as highlighted in verses 31-35. Some people are hard to please. They don't appreciate John's simple lifestyle or Jesus' sociable and joyful nature. It's like they can't enjoy a solemn or festive occasion. However, the ones who embrace John and Jesus' teachings are the wise ones, including tax collectors and sinners. They are the true children of wisdom.
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