John the Immerser in Prison
John Recognized the Signs of the MessiahEdit
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
John, who was filled with the Holy Ghost, recognized the signs of the Messiah as prophesied in the OT. He knew that the kingdom of God was at hand and the last days had come because of the miracles being done. Just as Peter quoted Joel 2 in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost.
Jesus Speaks of OT Prophesies Concerning JohnEdit
7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Immerser: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Immerser until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
After the messengers from John depart to give John the information, Jesus then turns to his followers and speaks concerning John. The prophet that he quotes is Malachi (start in Mal. 3:1). Then he compares John to those who would be in the church of Christ calling John less than they. The point to be made is that those in the church of Christ, the body of Christ, have obtained true salvation and remission of sins being in Christ. John did not achieve that during his lifetime. Verse 12 is Jesus speaking again of the last days and when they began, which was with the coming of John, the messenger who prepared the way for the Messiah. Those who are violent are the Jews who resisted the message of John and threw him in prison and who do the same to Christ and His followers. These are the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, Herod, the Zealots, and all those Jews who persecuted their fellow Jews (and later Christian Gentiles) for obedience to God rather than the Jewish state.
Jesus then points out that the the Old Testament teachings that carried the types, the prophecies, all the things pertaining to the coming of Messiah and the church (the kingdom) ended in John. With the passing of John's ministery and the beginning of Christs, those prophecies were then in fulfillment stage rather than future looking stage to the end of all things within that system.
16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. 20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
If you read my commentary on Isaiah you saw the premise where I affirmed that Isaiah is talking ONLY about the Jews and Jerusalem and that he does so by using the surrounding nations as metaphors. Here Jesus confirms again that premise. Of all the evils the surrounding nations did, the Jews would suffer more in the coming judgment because they missed the lesson. They desperately wanted to be like all those nations when God warned them not to be. They got their desire and like those nations, God destroyed them. Herein again Judah is compared to Sodom (see Revelation 11:8).
Ultimately, however, Sodom itself does not pertain to the judgment against Jerusalem in AD 67-73. Those people were long dead. The only judgment Sodom would yet face is a future day of judgment, a final judgment that the wicked nations of the Old Testamnet, the wicked Jews of the first century, and the wicked of every generation since will face. This is the literal anchor in which the metaphor is based.
In Truth and Love.