Jesus talks about John the Baptist
18 Then some disciples of John the Baptist went to visit him in prison. They told him about all the things that Jesus was doing. So John chose two of them to go to the Lord Jesus for him. 19 He said to them, ‘I want you to ask Jesus, “Are you the special person that God is sending to us? If not, should we still look for someone else?” ’
20 So the two men came to Jesus. They said to him, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you. He wants us to ask you, “Are you the special person that God has promised to send to us? If not, should we still look for someone else?” ’
21 At that time, Jesus was making many people well. They had many different illnesses. Some had bad spirits in them. Jesus also caused many blind people to see again. 22 Then he said to the two men that John had sent, ‘Go back to John. Tell him what you have seen. Tell him what you have heard. Blind people can now see again. People that could not walk can now walk again. People who had a bad disease of the skin are now well again. Deaf people can now hear again. People who had died now live again. Poor people are hearing God's good news. 23 If anyone believes in me and does not turn away, he will be really happy.’
7:23John was alone in prison. He was afraid and he had troubles in his mind. He had thought, ‘Jesus is the person that God promised to send.’ He had told other people about him. Now he was not sure. He needed to know if it was true. So he sent some of his disciples to find out. Jesus spoke to them about the powerful work that he was doing. By this, John would know that God had sent Jesus.
24 The two disciples of John then left. Jesus spoke to the crowd about John. He said to them, ‘You went out to the wilderness. What did you go there to see? Was it a tall piece of grass which the wind was blowing this way and that? No, you did not go to see that. 25 Did you go to see a man who was wearing expensive clothes? No! People like that do not live in the wilderness. They have many beautiful things and they live in great houses. 26 So what did you go to see? Did you go to see a prophet sent by God? Yes! But I tell you, John was even more important than a prophet. 27 This is what they wrote about him a long time ago in the Bible, when God said:
“Listen! I will send someone to go in front of you.
He will speak my message.
He will prepare a way for you.” ’
7:27We can read this in Malachi 3:1. God was speaking about Jesus the Messiah and about John the Baptist. God had promised that the Messiah would come to earth. He had promised that John would arrive first.
28 Jesus also said to the people, ‘I tell you, John is greater than any person who has ever lived up to now. But now anyone who belongs in the kingdom of God is greater than John, even the least important of them.’
7:28John came to tell people that Jesus is the Messiah. God promised many times in the Old Testament to send the Messiah. Those that believe his message now know God as their king. They are part of the family of God. John did not know God like that. That is why Jesus said this.
29 Many people heard what Jesus said. Even the men who took taxes from people agreed with his message. They had gone to John to baptize them. They all said, ‘What God says about us is right.’ 30 But the Pharisees and the men that studied God's Law had not asked John to baptize them. They did not believe the message that God was giving to them.
31 Jesus continued to teach. He said, ‘I will talk to you about the people that are alive today. I will tell you what they are like. 32 They are like children who are sitting in the market place. They are playing games. They shout to other children,
“We made happy music on a flute for you,
but you did not dance.
Then we sang a sad song but you did not cry.”
33 You are like those children. When John the Baptist came to you, he did not eat ordinary food. He never drank wine. So you say that John has a bad spirit in him. 34 Then I, the Son of Man, came. I eat meals with other people and I drink wine. So you say about me, “Look at this man! He eats too much and he drinks too much. He is a friend of bad people and men who take taxes from people.” 35 But God is wise and good. Wise people understand and they show that God is right.’
7:35John and Jesus were very different. But they were both living as God wanted them to live. The Pharisees thought of themselves as wise. But they would not accept either John or Jesus.