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God’s Word for You

Luke 7:26-27 More than a prophet

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

The question in verse 26 is about the purpose for their trip out into the wilderness to see John. Who was it you went out to see? In other words, did they go out to listen to John as an attentive and repentant congregation, or did they go out to gawk at him like cars driving by a car accident, just taking a look so that they could say, “Oh, I saw that, too.” We shouldn’t be surprised that people wanted to see John. There hadn’t been a real prophet in Israel for four hundred years, since Malachi. To put that into perspective, the Mayflower left England, bound for America, 402 years ago, in 1620. Imagine having no real pastors in our churches from then until now.

Yes, Jesus says, you saw a prophet, and more than a prophet. Why was John more than a prophet? It was because John’s ministry was itself prophesied—the only prophet to have his work as a prophet foretold in such a way. Malachi, the last prophet, said: “Look, I am sending my messenger, who will prepare the way before me” (Malachi 3:1). In that part of his book, Malachi encloses the whole ministry of Christ on earth between its two bookends, the first coming (3:1) and the last judgment (3:2-4). In between stands this moment: “Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come” (3:1b). The coming of John the Baptist meant the coming of the Messiah, and here stood the Messiah, explaining all of these things to everyone who would listen. Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled by John and by Jesus, and there can be no other fulfillment. No one else can ever stand and say, “I am the one Malachi promised.”

If the people accepted Malachi (and they did), and if the people accepted John (and they did), then it followed that they would have to accept Jesus as the Messiah. But this is where, for so many Jews, their faith stumbled and they fell. There were some who put their faith in him. They became the first Christians. But there were many, many more who did not. Either they had a small spark of faith which they kept hidden away, or they failed to share their faith with their children, or they were like the rocky soil in Jesus’ great parable which we will read in chapter 8. Pass your faith along to your children. Do not make your life a stumbling block to them, so that they become confused. Don’t make those little ones wonder: How could Mom and Dad say they believe in God but behave or talk the way that they do? Rather, make them wonder: How could anybody not love Jesus? Just look at my Mom and Dad, and see what faith does in a person’s life. That’s the true and lasting legacy we leave in the world to our children, and their children’s children—until Jesus comes again in glory to carry all of us home with him to heaven.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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