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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-17


48. Centurion’s servant; widow’s son (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-17)

Back in Capernaum, a Roman centurion asked Jesus to heal one of his servants who was dying. However, he did not expect Jesus to come to his house. Being an army officer, he operated in a system of authority where he needed only to give a command and it was carried out. He believed that Jesus carried the authority of God, and he needed only to say the word and the servant would be healed (Matthew 8:5-9; Luke 7:1-8).

Jesus saw that this Roman had more faith than the Jews. He used the incident to warn the Jews that many of them would be left out of God’s kingdom, but Gentiles from countries far and near would, because of their faith, be included (Matthew 8:10-13; Luke 7:9-10).

In another northern town, Nain, Jesus raised a widow’s son to life. It seems that in this case he acted not because of any request, but solely because of the pity he felt for the woman. With her husband and her only son dead, she was faced with hardship and poverty for the rest of her life. Jesus therefore stopped the funeral procession and gave her son back to her (Luke 7:11-17).

Verses 18-35

49. Messengers from John the Baptist (Matthew 11:1-19; Luke 7:18-35)

Shut up in prison, John the Baptist received only irregular and possibly inaccurate reports of Jesus’ ministry. These reports must have caused him to wonder whether Jesus really was the Messiah he foretold. Jesus sent back the message that he was carrying out a ministry of relief to the oppressed, which was the sort of ministry foretold of the Messiah in the Old Testament (Matthew 11:1-5; cf. Isaiah 35:5-6; Isaiah 61:1). Many were disappointed that Jesus did not bring the political victories they expected of the Messiah, but Jesus promised a special blessing to those who understood his ministry and did not lose heart (Matthew 11:6).

To prevent anyone from speaking ill of John because of his questioning, Jesus pointed out what a great man he was. John was not weak in character, uncertain of himself or easily swayed by the opinions of others. Nor did he seek comfort or prestige. He was a prophet, and like many of the prophets he endured a life of hardship (Matthew 11:7-10).

John was the last and greatest figure of the era before the Messiah, but because he belonged to that era he was less blessed than the humblest believer who enters the Messiah’s kingdom. Although some opposed the kingdom violently, others spared no effort to enter it (Matthew 11:11-12). In preparing the way for the kingdom and introducing the Messiah, John was the ‘Elijah’ of whom the prophet Malachi spoke (Matthew 11:13-15; cf. Malachi 4:5).

Those who believed and obeyed the preaching of John were pleased to hear Jesus’ commendation of him. But the religious leaders, who hated John, were angry (Luke 7:29-30).

Jesus likened the people of his day to a lot of quarrelling children playing in the streets. They could not agree to play a lively wedding game, nor could they agree to play a slower funeral game. Nothing satisfied them. The Jews acted like those children. They criticized John because he followed strict rules about food and drink and lived like a hermit in the desert; they criticized Jesus because he had no such rules about food and drink and mixed with the most disreputable people in society. But God had a purpose in sending John and Jesus with their separate missions, and his wisdom was proved in the changed lives of those who accepted their messages (Matthew 11:16-19).

Verses 36-50

51. In the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50)

Like most Pharisees, Simon no doubt kept the laws of holiness and thought that God was more pleased with him than with socially despised people such as tax collectors and prostitutes. He was therefore surprised that Jesus allowed a prostitute to wash his feet. In Simon’s view this showed that Jesus did not have divine knowledge, otherwise he would know the sort of person the woman was and would not allow her to touch him (Luke 7:36-39).

Jesus knew Simon’s thoughts, so told a story to contrast Simon’s attitude with the woman’s (Luke 7:40-43). Simon had never come to Jesus in search of forgiveness, because he had never felt the need. Consequently, he had no reason to feel any love or gratitude towards Jesus. The woman, however, had apparently heard Jesus’ message of forgiveness and, being sorry for her sins, trusted in his forgiving love. She then showed her love and gratitude in the most meaningful way she new (Luke 7:44-50).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/luke-7.html. 2005.
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