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Summary: Discussion of how Jesus viewed and talked about John the Baptist.

Jesus and John the Baptist

Matthew 11:1-19

March 5, 2006


I was reading a special supplement to the Aberdeen newspaper yesterday about the 125th anniversary celebration for the city coming up this summer.

In there was an article about a guy who does a lot of researching about his genealogy, and has discovered that he is related to such people as George Washington and Clint Eastwood.

Do any of you have famous relatives? And I don’t mean famous ancestors. Most people have those.

My grandmother has done a bunch of genealogy studies also, and I’m related to a number of famous people myself. No one living now, that I’m aware of, but there are some famous people in my background.

What I want to know is if any of you have any famous living relatives - someone most people would recognize as famous.

The kind of person you hope recognizes you at family reunions or when you’re with a bunch of people you’d like to impress.

I personally don’t have anybody like that in my family. But John the Baptist did. He had a famous cousin: Jesus. And of course, everyone knew who John was. So they were both "famous" or well-known in the area.

John didn’t have to worry about Jesus recognizing him - he knew him, and as we’ll see in our passage today, he talked very highly of him.

Can you imagine these guys talking over the potato salad at the family reunions?

"So, Jesus, how’s the Messiah thing coming along?" "Fine. How about the baptism thing - how’s that going?" "Oh well, it’s got its ups and downs, you know how it is..."

Well, our passage today talks about how one famous cousin saw the other. This is found in Matthew 11:1-19. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, this is found starting on page 688.

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

4 Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

"’I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears, let him hear.

16 "To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 "’We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ’He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ’Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."’ But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

Today I want to show three actions that Jesus takes regarding John, and then I want to look at what we can do to make this real in our own lives.

Okay? Here we go. The first thing we find is that...

1. Jesus reassures John.

2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

Now here’s a bit of a paradox: John knew who Jesus was, knew that Jesus was "the lamb of God," who came to take away the sins of the world, and yet now he has questions, and maybe even real live doubts about Jesus.

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