Then Jesus answering said to them, Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Go your way.—The exact agreement of the answer as reported in the two Gospels is significant as to the impression which they made at the time on those who heard them.Matthew 11:2-19.
(See on Mt 11:2-14.)See Poole on "Luke 7:18"
go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard. They had just seen many cured of infirmities, plagues, and evil spirits, and they had heard the doctrines of the Gospel preached by him; and the former were in confirmation of the latter, and both were proofs of his being the Messiah: the particulars of which follow,
how that the blind see; that is, they that had been blind, and some that were born blind received their sight, which was what was never heard of before, from the beginning of the world; and which, as it is an instance of Christ's almighty power, showing him to be God; so it was a fulfilment of a prophecy concerning him as the Messiah, who, when he came, was to open the eyes of the blind, Isaiah 35:5 and this was true, not only in a corporeal, but in a spiritual sense: and generally so it was, that when the blind received their bodily sight, they also received their spiritual sight; and both were evidences of the true Messiahship of our Lord Jesus.
The lame walk; these were among those who were cured of their infirmities; and this also was prophesied of the Messiah, and was now accomplished by Jesus, that "the lame man" should "leap as an hart", Isaiah 35:6 and so was to be considered by John, and his disciples, as another proof of his being the true Messiah:
the lepers are cleansed; of this sort were they who were cured of their plagues: the leprosy was called a plague; hence the treatise of leprosy, in the Misna, is, by the Jews, called Negaim, or "plagues".
The deaf hear; so in the above prophecy in Isaiah, it is predicted, that "the ears of the deaf should be unstopped" in the days of the Messiah; and which therefore must be considered as a further confirmation of Jesus being he that was to come, and that another was not to be looked for.
The dead are raised: whether there were any raised at this time, or no, is not certain; but certain it is, that there had been one raised from the dead, if not in the presence of these disciples, yet just before they came to Christ, of which John had been informed by some of his disciples, if not these; and of which an account is given before in this chapter, and which is what none but the mighty God can do.
To the poor the Gospel is preached: it was preached both by the poor, the disciples of Christ, and to the poor, mean, base, and illiterate among the Jews; and also to the poor, meek, and lowly in heart, as was prophesied should be, by the Messiah, Isaiah 61:1 so that put all together, here were undoubted proofs, and a full demonstration, that Jesus was the Messiah; See Gill on Matthew 11:4. See Gill on Matthew 11:5.Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 7:22 contains the verbal answer, pointing the moral = go and tell your master what ye saw and heard (aorist, past at the time of reporting), and leave him to draw his own conclusion.—νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται: this refers to the son of the widow of Nain; raisings from the dead are not included in the list of marvels given in the previous verse. Lk. omits throughout the connecting καὶ with which Mt. binds the marvels into couplets. On the motive of John’s message, vide notes of Mt., ad loc.22. what things ye have seen] Our Lord wished His answer to be the announcement of facts not the explanation of difficulties. His enumeration of the miracles involves an obvious reference to Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 35:4-6; Isa 60:1-3 (see Luke 4:17-19), which would be instantly caught by one so familiar with the language of “the Evangelical Prophet” as the Baptist had shewn himself to be.
to the poor the Gospel is preached] Thus the spiritual miracle is placed as the most convincing climax. The arrogant ignorance and hard theology of the Rabbis treated all the poor as mere peasants and nobodies. The Talmud is full of the two contemptuous names applied to them—‘people of the earth’ and ‘laics;’ and one of the charges brought against the Pharisees by our Lord was their attempt to secure the monopoly of knowledge, Luke 11:52.Verse 22. - Tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised. These miracles which the messengers witnessed that day, striking though they were, were no novel ones in the work of our Lord. They were, too, precisely similar to those which had already been reported to him in his prison (ver. 18). But Jesus, pointing to these signs, bade the friends of the Baptist return and tell their master what they had seen in these words. The great Messianic prophet, whose writings were so well known to John, had said that Messiah's advent would be heralded by these very acts. John would in a moment catch the meaning of the reply. The passages in question are Isaiah 29:18 and Isaiah 35:4, 6. Wordsworth, on these works wrought by the great Physician, very beautifully writes, "One of the most consolatory reflections produced by these mighty and merciful works of Christ on earth is the assurance they give that at the great day of resurrection he will remove all infirmities and blemishes from the bodies of his servants, and clothe them in immortal health, beauty, and glory, so as to be like his own glorious body, once marred on the cross, but raised by himself from the dead, and now reigning for ever in glory" (Bishop Wordsworth). To the poor the gospel is preached. John would be able to draw his inference, too, from this feature in Jesus' work. His messengers would have heard the Teacher's words, and would have marked from what class especially his hearers were drawn. It was a new experience in the world's story, this tender care for the poor. No heathen teacher of Rome or Athens, of Alexandria or the far East, had ever cared to make this vast class of unprofitable hearers the objects of their teaching. The rabbis of Israel cared nothing for them. In the Talmud we often find them spoken of with contempt. But John knew that this speaking to and consorting with the poor would be one of the marked characteristics of Messiah when he came.
Better, are receiving, are walking, even while Jesus is speaking and John is in doubt.
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