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March 12, 2016, 8:23 PM

The Power in Jesus' Answers


One thing that has always puzzled me when reading the words of Jesus is how often he opts out of the most straight forward answer. Take for instance our passage today. John the Baptist sends his disciples with what could have been a simple yes or no question. Jesus' response is far from a simple yes or no.  It is a somewhat complicated reference Old Testament passages being brought to life. 

Jesus' answers are often soaked in scripture. In the desert while under temptation, Jesus used scripture to answer Satan.  Jesus uses scripture here in Luke 7. On the cross, Jesus references Psalm 22. We call it Psalm 22, but they would have called it “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

In John 8:13-19, Jesus has a unique confrontation that I think will shed some light on why He often opts out of the easier answer. In this passage some Pharisees try to discredit Jesus' ministry by saying that He is the only one that bear witness about Himself. The Law says that in order for a testimony to be considered true, there had to be at least two agreeing witnesses. Jesus was making proclamations about himself, therefore His testimony could not be taken as true. Jesus answered them by saying that He testified about Himself, and that His Father testified about Him also. 

This interaction in John 8, along with Jesus' consistent use of scripture does two things for us. First, it elevates the importance of scripture; especially that of the Old Testament. The Old Testament scriptures are where we find God the Father's testimony about Jesus. In revealing Himself to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, God the Father also prepared them for the coming of Jesus. A correct view of Old Testament salvation would be that they believed God when He said that He was going to send Jesus. 

The second thing that Jesus' consistent use of scripture should do is give us confidence. Had Jesus just been another enlightened man who had a new twist on timeless teachings, then one could easily write Him off as having nothing significant to add to the already crowded religious conversation. But, Jesus lived and taught in light of Old Testament prophecies that were meant to reveal His true identity. 

So, when John asks Jesus if he is the coming one, Jesus could have simply said yes. But, Jesus opts for a better answer. Jesus says look, all the things that scripture says will happen when the coming one comes are happening. 

Jesus' answer puts God the Father's words together with God the Son's actions. It was not the simplest answer, but it was the most powerful answer.


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