Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXV: God's Certifying The Witness Of Christ's Claims By Way Of Empirical Evidence
(Luke 7:18-23)
  1. Introduction
    1. Doubt is a plague to the believer. It can eat away at the heart, unsettling the mind.
    2. There is a very sure form of obtaining information to overcome doubt that God has supplied for us, and He used it in proving the credibility of Jesus' claims to deity and Messiahship. It is exposed in Luke 7:18-23:
  2. God's Certifying The Witness Of Christ's Claims By Way Of Empirical Evidence, Luke 7:18-23.
    1. When Luke wrote his Gospel, he aimed to make Theophilus sure about the validity of the faith, Lk. 1:3-4.
    2. Well, in certifying the validity of Jesus' claims, Luke recorded an event of Jesus' reactions to some disciples who came from the disillusioned, imprisoned John the Baptizer, Luke 7:18-23.
      1. For his faith, John had been imprisoned by Herod, a matter causing John doubt, Luke 3:15-20; 7:18-20:
        1. John, an Old Testament prophet, fully expected that the coming Messiah would usher in His Kingdom. He did not expect there to be an era of Gentile domination before that Kingdom!
        2. Thus, after revealing Jesus as Messiah, John naturally waxed bold against evil, openly condemning sin in the region's leader, Herod, cf. Mtt. 14:3-4. He probably felt his incarceration was but a temporal set back until Jesus overcame Herod, liberated him and established the Messianic Kingdom.
        3. However, as time went on and John's hopes of release were unrealized, he began to have doubts about Jesus, wondering if he had misunderstood His Messianic identity, Lk. 7:18-19.
        4. Accordingly, he sent two disciples to Jesus with a question about His identity and that of the Messiah to come, Lk. 7:19-20. He needed a clarification as he suffered understandably from doubt.
      2. When these men arrived, Jesus answered their question only after He had performed some miracles, 21.
      3. Then, Jesus told John's disciples to return and report what they had seen and heard, Luke 7:22a. This personally visible and audible evidence, in keeping with Prov. 20:12, were thus two Biblically credible means of obtaining information that God certified.
      4. Now, what these men had seen and heard could be corroborated with other things that were credible:
        1. Jesus told these men to report to John specific miracles, namely, the blind receiving sight, the lame being enabled to walk, the lepers cleansed, the dead raised, and the poor having the gospel preached to them. The miracles mentioned hark back to those predicted of the Messiah in Isaiah 35:5; 61:1.
        2. Well, all of this information John himself could verify by his own visible and audible experiences: (a) First, he had the book of Isaiah in his day, and easily knew by way of his own eyesight that those Isa iah predictions of Messiah were written in the Isaiah scrolls in the synagogues. (b) Second, John knew that Proverbs 20:12 that sanctioned visible and audible evidence as credible means' of obtaining it, was also written down in a Proverbs scroll. (c) Thi rd, John also knew that when his two disciples returned with the report, that he was obligated under another piece of visible Scripture evidence, that of Deuteronomy 19:15, he was to believe the two witnesses he'd sent out, Lk. 7:19. (d) Fourth, John also knew that he had heard of the report of Jesus' works before he had ever asked the question of Jesus' credibility according to Lu ke 7:18. He knew that God had given him information before, but that he had failed to use it, leaving himself doubting. Christ's words were thus a rebuke for needless unbelief by John, another bit of evidence one would have expected from the true Messiah!
Lesson: Jesus supplied John with all of the evidence he Biblically needed to overcome his doubts. This included matters that John could corroborate by way of his OWN eyes and ears through his previous knowledge of visibly verifiable Hebrew prophecies and his two disciple witnesses.

Application: (1) As God gave us EYES and EARS to SEE Scripture and witness events around us in conjunction with His Word, we are to trust what we see and hear in connection with what we read in Scripture as God's means of our knowing His truth, and knowing what He is communicating to us. (2) In particular, if what we read in Scripture connects with our expeiences to convict us of the sin of unbelief, that is God's ADDED, SPECIAL bit of insight of credibility, and we do well to heed it!