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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 7:29

When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God's justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Baptism;   Jesus, the Christ;   John;   Publicans;   Thompson Chain Reference - Baptism;   John's;   Outcasts Received;   Sacraments;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Publicans;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Justification;   Luke, gospel of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Justification;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John;   Luke, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Justification, Justify;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Discourse;   John the Baptist;   Violence;   Winter ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Baptism;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Tax;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - John the Baptist;  
Unselected Authors

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 29. Justified God — Or, declared God to be just - εδικαιωσαν τον Θεον. The sense is this: John preached that the Divine wrath was coming upon the Jews, from which they might flee by repentance, Luke 3:7. The Jews, therefore, who were baptized by him, with the baptism of repentance, did thereby acknowledge that it is but justice in God to punish them for their wickedness unless they repented, and were baptized in token of it. Bp. PEARCE proves that this is the sense in which the word δικαιοω is used here and in Psalms 51:4, compared with Job 32:2, and by this evangelist again in Luke 10:29, and Luke 16:15.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-7.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

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).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/luke-7.html. 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And all the people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him.

These are among the most significant words in the New Testament, showing categorically that the refusal to accept baptism at the hands of John was, in fact, a rejection of the counsel of God on the part of the Pharisees. In the preparatory phase of the kingdom of God, no less than in its reality after Pentecost, refusal to be baptized was here pointed out by Jesus as a "rejection" of God's counsel. Water baptism is one of the elements of the new birth, the being "born of water" to which Jesus referred in his interview with Nicodemus (see comments in my Commentary on John, third chapter). It is therefore true in the present era that failure to heed Christ's command that all men should be baptized is no less a rejection of God's will now than it was when those ancient Pharisees and lawyers rejected it. It is in fact a greater rejection, because John's baptism was only water baptism, the Holy Spirit not having at that time been given; whereas, the baptism of the great commission is followed by the reception of the Holy Spirit. Moreover the conceit that men may receive God's Spirit while rejecting his baptism is refuted by this passage. The new birth, without which none shall see the kingdom of God, includes being "born of water," although that is not the totality of it.

In this passage lies the reason why the publicans and harlots entered into God's kingdom, whereas the Pharisees did not enter it. Another significant reason also appears in the next episode where the sinful woman is presented as "loving" Jesus more than the proud Pharisee; and, as Jesus said, "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-7.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See this passage explained in Matthew 11:2-19.

Luke 7:29

The people - The common people.

That heard him - That heard “John.”

The publicans - The tax-gatherers, the worst kind of people, who had, however, been converted.

Justified God - Considered God as “just” or “right” in the counsel which he gave by John - to wit, in calling people to repentance, and in denouncing future wrath on the impenitent. Compare Matthew 11:19.

Being baptized ... - They “showed” that they approved of the message of God by submitting to the ordinance which he commanded - the ordinance of baptism. This verse and the following are not to be considered as the words of “Luke,” but the continuation of the discourse of our Lord. He is saying what took place in regard to John. Among the common people he was approved and obeyed among the rich and learned he was despised.

Luke 7:30

But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected ... - It appears from Matthew 3:7 that some of the Pharisees came to John to be baptized; but still this is entirely consistent with the supposition that the great mass of Pharisees and lawyers rejected him.

The counsel of God - The counsel of God toward them was the solemn admonition by John to “repent” and be baptized, and be prepared to receive the Messiah. This was the command or revealed will of God in relation to them. When it is said that they “rejected” the counsel of God, it does not mean that they could frustrate his purposes, but merely that they violated his commands. Men cannot frustrate the “real” purposes of God, but they can contemn his messages, they can violate his commands, and thus they can reject the counsel which he gives them, and treat with contempt the desire which he manifests for their welfare.

Against themselves - To their own hurt or detriment. God is wise and good. He knows what is best for us. He, therefore, that rejects what God commands, rejects it to his own injury. It “cannot” be well for any mortal to despise what God commands him to do.

Luke 7:31-35

See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 11:16-19. “And the Lord said.” This clause is wanting in almost all the manuscripts, and is omitted by the best critics.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-7.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 7:29

. And all the people hearing. This part is left out by Matthew, though it throws no small light on the connection of the words; for it was this circumstance which gave rise to Christ’s expostulation, when he perceived that the scribes persisted so obstinately in despising God. The substance of this passage is, that the common people and the publicans gave glory to God; while the Scribes, flattering themselves with confidence in their own knowledge, cared little for what Christ said. At first sight, this tends only to obscure, and even to disfigure, the glory of the Gospel, that Christ could not gather disciples to himself, except from the dregs and offscourings of the people; while he was rejected by those who had any reputation for holiness or learning. But the Lord intended, from the beginning, to hold out this example, that neither the men of that age, nor even posterity, might judge of the Gospel by the approbation of men; for we are all by nature inclined to this vice. And yet nothing is more unreasonable than to submit the truth of God to the judgment of men, whose acuteness and sagacity amounts to nothing more than mere vanity. Accordingly, as Paul says, “God hath chosen that part which is weak and foolish in the eyes of the world, that he may cast down from its height whatever appears to be mighty and wise,” (1 Corinthians 1:27.) Our duty is to prefer this foolishness of God, to use Paul’s expression, (1 Corinthians 1:25,) to all the display of human wisdom.

Justified God. This is a very remarkable expression. Those who respectfully embrace the Son of God, and assent to the doctrine which he has brought, are said to ascribe righteousness to God. We need not therefore wonder, if the Holy Spirit everywhere honors faith with remarkable commendations, assigns to it the highest rank in the worship of God, and declares that it is a very acceptable service. For what duty can be deemed more sacred than to vindicate God’s righteousness? The word justify applies generally, no doubt, to every thing connected with the praises of God, and conveys the idea, that God is beheld with approbation, and crowned with glory, by the people who embrace that doctrine of which He is the author. Now, since faith justifies God, it is impossible, on the other hand, but that unbelief must be blasphemy against him, and a disdainful withholding of that praise which is due to his name. This expression also teaches us, that men are never brought into complete subjection to the faith until, disregarding the flesh and sense, they conclude that every thing which comes from God is just and holy, and do not permit themselves to murmur against his word or his works.

Having been baptized with the baptism of John. Luke means that the fruits of the baptism which they had received were then beginning to appear; for it was a useful preparation to them for receiving the doctrine of Christ. It was already an evidence of their piety that they presented themselves to be baptized. Our Lord now leads them forward from that slender instruction to a higher degree of progress, as the scribes, in despising the baptism of John, shut against themselves, through their pride, the gate of faith. If, therefore, we desire to rise to full perfection, let us first guard against despising the very least of God’s invitations, (25) and be prepared in humility to commence with small and elementary instructions. Secondly, let us endeavor that, if our faith shall have a feeble beginning, it may regularly and gradually increase.

(25) “ Gardons premierement de mespriser un seul moyen par lequel Die nous convie;” — “let us first guard against despising a single method by which God invites us.”

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-7.html. 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Let's turn now in our Bibles to Luke's gospel, chapter 7. At this point in Luke's gospel he is going to give us series of events, miracles that transpired in the life of Jesus.

When he ended these sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loves our nation, and he has build us a synagogue ( Luke 7:1-5 ).

The Roman centurions were special men. They are mentioned several times in the scriptures, and always in a favorable light. They were always, it seems, outstanding men. We remember the Roman centurion Cornelius in Caesarea. It was while he was in prayer that the Lord spoke to him, and commanded that he should send his servants to Joppa in order to get Peter to come down and teach them the way of the Lord more completely. And so it was in the Roman centurion's house in Caesarea that the gospel was first preached to the Gentiles, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon his house, and those that were with him. As God began His work among the Gentiles, actually in the house of a Roman centurion. So they are mentioned several times in the scriptures, always in a kind and favorable light.

This centurion in Capernaum was declared to be a worthy person by the Jewish leaders, who came to Jesus on his behalf. They said that he was worthy for whom He should do this. This is interesting to me, because the Jewish people, even to the present day, and I am certain that it doesn't have it's roots in the New Testament, but to the present day they have awards that they give to worthy people. And it is a phrase that they yet use today. In fact, I've been awarded a worthy person by the Jewish community, whatever that might mean. And I haven't found out yet, but I don't know that I fully want to. But I think it's good, because they were smiling when they awarded me. But it's a title that they still give today for a person who has, and I suppose it is a person outside of the Jewish faith, who has shown kindness and consideration to the Jews would be my estimation of this title. And such was the case with the Roman centurion. He has build a synagogue for them, and he loved their nation. And so having this as his credential, the Jewish leaders came and besought Jesus to do the favor for him by healing his servant.

It was unusual for a master to have a close relationship with his servant. The servants in the Roman Empire really had no rights whatsoever. And there was a Roman writer who said that every year a man should take stock of his possessions, and should hold on to that which is still producing and beneficial, and should get rid of that which was no longer productive. And included in that getting rid of that which was no longer productive was a slave who was no longer capable of putting out a day's work. And so when he got to that place, he would just be put out, and left to die. For he had no other recourse. The slave was so much a part of, just a possession of his master, that in the Roman Empire a master could put his slave to death and not face any charges for it. After all, you're just destroying your own property. So for him to have this attitude towards a slave was unusual in itself. And it does show that he is one of those men above the ordinary. He loved this slave very much, and was concerned because he was almost dead.

Then Jesus went with them. And when he was not far from the house, then centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, do not trouble yourself; for I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed ( Luke 7:6-7 ).

Now the commendation that the Jewish leaders had given to Jesus is, this man is worthy. As he answers or responds when he finds out that Jesus is getting close to his house, sending other friends, he said, "I am not worthy that You should come under my roof." He used a different word for worthy. But then he did say, using the same word for worthy, "neither did I think myself worthy to come to Thee."

In that culture it was unlawful for a Jew to enter the home of a Gentile. He knew for Jesus to come into his house would be putting a strain upon Jesus. When Peter entered the house of Cornelius, he apologized for doing so. He had taken some Jewish friends with him from Joppa. And he apologized for doing so. He said, "You know it isn't lawful for me to assemble with you fellows, to come to this house, but the Lord told me not to ask any questions, so I am here, what do you want?" But he was apologizing for entering into the house of a Gentile, because that was forbidden to the Jew.

So he is saying to Jesus, "I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. I didn't even feel I was worthy to come to You."

It is interesting when we remember when the woman from the area of Sidon came to Jesus concerning her daughter, who she said was vexed with a devil, and Jesus didn't answer. The disciples said, "Lord, do something for her, she is bugging us; she is driving us crazy." And Jesus said, "It isn't right to give the children's bread to the dogs." Now, Jesus was declaring that these benefits that He was bringing were for the Jews. This centurion did not feel worthy to come to Jesus and ask that Jesus would even come. And was sort of embarrassed that Jesus was coming. But then he made a remarkable statement. He said, "Just say the word. You don't have to come; I am not worthy that you should come. Just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I understand authority."

For I also [recognizing that Jesus had authority, I also] am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers ( Luke 7:8 ),

"I am a man who is under authority, and I have under me soldiers. I understand what authority is about. I submit to an authority, but I also have authority. And I understand how authority works. I also," recognizing now that Jesus had this authority, "I also am a man under authority, having under me men, or men set under authority, having under me men."

And I can say unto one, Go, and he goes; and to another I say, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he will do it. When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and he turned about to the people that were following him, and he said unto them, I say unto you, I have not found so great a faith, no, not in Israel ( Luke 7:8-9 ).

Among the Jews, to whom He came, He did not see as much faith as this centurion.

So they that were sent, when they got home, found the servant that had been so sick, [nearly dead] was alive and well. So it came to pass the day after ( Luke 7:10-11 ),

Now this is at Capernaum.

he went into a city called Nain ( Luke 7:11 );

Nain is about twenty-five miles from Capernaum.

and many of his disciples went with him, and a lot of people. Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man being carried out, and he was the only son of a mother, who was a widow: and many people of the city were with her. And when the [Jesus or the] Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not ( Luke 7:11-13 ).

The picture could not be more pathetic. A woman who was a widow, following the procession, as her only son is being carried out for burial.

Now, in those days they did not have caskets. They usually carried them in baskets and put them in a sarcophagus. The word sarcophagus from the Latin means flesh eater. They have these lime stone sarcophaguses there in Israel. In fact, you can see them just in excavations where they dug for a highway. They uncover them, and they just leave them set there on the sides, and you can find them all over. There is something about the limestone that eats away the flesh very rapidly. In fact, within a month or so, and thus, the name sarcophagus, the flesh eater. And so they would usually place them in the sarcophagus until the flesh was eaten away, and then they would later bury the bones.

And so he was being carried, probably in a basket, to the place of burial, either a cave, or sarcophagus. And the mother with the crowd, the sad pathetic scene. And they didn't just weep, they wailed. And Jesus had compassion on her. In the Greek there is no word that is more expressive of feeling sympathy than the word used here, translated compassion. And it is used many times of Jesus. It's the strongest Greek word that expresses the deepest kind of feeling towards a person. Jesus had compassion on her, and said unto her, "Weep not."

And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear upon all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God has visited his people ( Luke 7:14-16 ).

This term, "God has visited His people," if you go back to the first chapter at the birth of John the Baptist when God opened the mouth of Zacharias, his father, he began to prophesy, and some of the first words of that prophesy back there in chapter 1, where, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited His people." And so here the people are declaring, "God has visited His people." The fulfillment of this prophesy of Zacharias.

And this story of him went forth throughout all of Judea ( Luke 7:17 ),

Now Judea is unto the south sixty-seventy miles. So this story really spread concerning this young man who was dead, brought back to life by Jesus.

and throughout all of the regions there around about the Galilee region. And the disciples of John were telling John about all of these things. And John called him two of his disciples and he sent them to Jesus, saying, Are you the one that is to come? or should we look for another? And when the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist has sent us unto thee, saying, Are thou he that should come? or should we look for another? ( Luke 7:17-20 )

Now in John's gospel, he tells us that when John saw the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, that he knew that He was the Messiah. For the Lord told him that upon whomever you see the Spirit descend, He is the one. And so John, in referring to Jesus, said to his own disciples, "Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." And he pointed men to Jesus Christ.

Now John has been in the dungeon for a while, Herod's prisoner. He does not like confined quarters, for he is a man of the outdoors. He grew up in the wilderness. He was a man of the woods, sort of speak. And this confinement, no doubt, was very irritating to him. And would imagine that John, like the other disciples of Jesus, was anticipating the immediate establishing of the kingdom of God. And he was probably wondering, "How long am I going to sit in this prison?" And the question, "Are you the Messiah?" was not so much a question, as was sort of an urging, "Let's get things going; let's get moving." It could be that the fact that Jesus did not immediately establish the kingdom, overthrow Herod, and the Romans, that John did have second thoughts. Whatever be the case, the response of Jesus is quite interesting.

In that very same hour he cured many of their infirmities and of their plagues, and of the evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. And Jesus answering said unto him, Go your way, and tell John the things which you have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me ( Luke 7:21-23 ).

Now Jesus said to His disciples, "Believe Me, or else believe Me for My works' sake." Again He said, "The works that I do, they do testify of Me." Jesus pointed to His works as a testimony to His identity who He was. "My works bear witness, they do testify of Me. And if you don't believe Me," He said, "believe Me for My works' sake." So He called upon His works as the witness as to His authority and to His identity. And they form a very strong witness as to His identity and His authority. Because no man can do these things, except the Lord be with him.

The works that He was doing were the works that were prophesied of the kingdom age. And, of course, that's what John was concerned about, the kingdom. "Are you the One? Why haven't You set up the kingdom? Are You the One, or shall we look for another?" And the works that He was doing were works that were the fulfillment of the kingdom age. Where the lame would leap as the deer, the blind would behold the glory of the Lord, and the dumb would sing praises unto Him. And unto the poor the gospel would be preached.

He just said, "Go back and tell John." He knew that John knew the scriptures. He knew the scriptures well enough that when they come back and tell John the things that they saw, the things that they heard, that John would know the scriptures well enough to know, that, yes, He was indeed the promised one.

So when the messengers from John departed, Jesus began to speak to the people concerning John, and he said, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaking in the wind? ( Luke 7:24 )

Now the area where John was baptizing, the Jordan River, was surrounded by these reeds. They were a very, very common sight. And obviously they didn't go down to the Jordan River just to see reeds blowing in the wind. "What did you go out to see, reeds blowing in the wind?" No!

What did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? ( Luke 7:25 )

That is, a man who was robed in beautiful robes. And then in a bit of satire, Jesus said:

Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts ( Luke 7:25 ).

They're not in the kings' dungeons.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say unto you, much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist ( Luke 7:26-28 ):

And so Jesus puts John at the top of the list of those prophets that had been sent by God to the Jewish people. Of all of the men born of women, not a greater than John the Baptist. But then an extremely remarkable statement.

but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he ( Luke 7:28 ).

The privileges that you have as a child of God living in this age are superior to the highest position under the old dispensation, where God related to man in a legal way, through the law. Now those who related to God from that legalistic background, the greatest of all was John the Baptist. And yet, he who is least in the kingdom of God has greater privileges, a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, than the highest of that prior dispensation. For we have not a legal, but a loving relationship with God.

And all the people that heard Him, and the publicans [that is, the tax collectors], justified God ( Luke 7:29 ),

They declared, "Yes, that 's right."

because they had been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, because they were not baptized by him ( Luke 7:29-30 ).

Jesus used this later on when they were asking Him a bunch of questions that He didn't want to answer at that moment. He said, "I'll ask you a question. If you answer My question, I'll answer yours. John's baptism, was it of God, or was it of man?" And they knew that if they said it was of man, then all the people would turn against them, because they all believed John was a prophet. But if they said it's of God, then Jesus say, "Then why weren't you baptized by John?" So they said, "Well, we can't answer You that question." Jesus said, "Well, I don't answer you yours either."

But He used this. Here was the division, it was marked, the opinions concerning John. He was officially rejected by the religious leaders, but widely accepted by the people.

And so the Lord said, What shall I liken this generation to? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace, and calling to each other, they say, We've played our pipes, and you have not danced; and we've mourned with you, but you've not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, He has a devil. But the Son of man is come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of the tax collectors and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all of her children ( Luke 7:31-35 ).

In other words, "What do you want? You are in a position that nothing satisfies you. John came living in a sedic life, and you say he has a devil. I came mixing with people, eating with the publicans and all, and you say, 'Hey, He is a winebibber; He is a gluttonous man.' What do you want?"

One of the Pharisees desired that he would eat with him. And Jesus went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat [that is to eat dinner]. And, behold, there was a woman in the city, which was a sinner, and when she knew that Jesus was sitting in the Pharisee's house for dinner, she brought an alabaster box of ointment, and she stood at his feet behind him weeping, and she began to wash his feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and she kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment. Now when the Pharisees which had bidden him saw it, within himself he thought, If this man were a prophet, and if he had known what kind of a woman this is that is touching him: [He wouldn't allow her to do that] because she is a terrible sinner. And Jesus said unto him, Simon, I have something to ask you. He said, Go head and ask it, Lord. And Jesus said, There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: the one owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he completely forgave both their debts. Tell me therefore, which of them loves him the more? And Simon answered and said, Oh, I suppose that he, whom he forgave the most. And Jesus said unto him, That's right. And He turned to the woman, and he said unto Simon, You see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You did not give me a kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil you did not anoint: but this woman has anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little ( Luke 7:36-47 ).

Simon was a rude host. And in that culture hospitality was something that was treasured highly. When you invited guests to your home, they would leave their sandals at the door, but immediately there would be a servant there with a towel and with a basin of water, and the host would provide that servant to wash your feet in order that you might come into the house to dine. Of course, they wore open sandals; they had dirt pathways that they walked on, and it was just a common, accepted courtesy that the guests that were invited would have their feet washed by the servant when they entered the door of the house. And then it was customary to greet your friends with a kiss. Usually it was a kiss on each cheek. This was just common. And, in fact, in some of those areas it is still practiced today. Italy, the men in the church when they come up and greet you, kiss you on both cheeks. And it's a sort of a beautiful, loving thing. But it was common in that culture. And then also it was common to anoint with oil. To pour oil on the head of the guest. Which was a symbol of the joy that you'd hoped to share together that evening. And they would then serve you your first cup of coffee, no sugar, strong Turkish type coffee, bitter. The idea being that you are washing away now all of the bitter experiences that you've had. The second cup they offer you is very sweet. Symbolic of that sweet time that we can now share together, that all of the bitterness was taken away.

Simon was a poor host. He did not show to Jesus any of these common courtesies. He did not wash Jesus' feet. He did not anoint His head with oil. Nor did he kiss Him when He entered the house. But this woman washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed His feet continually, and anointed His feet with ointment. And here is Simon the Pharisee sitting there in his pompous, self-righteous attitudes and all, and, "If He were really a prophet, He wouldn't allow this to go on. He'd know what kind of a woman she was. And He wouldn't allow her to touch Him." You see, Simon wouldn't touch that woman. Because if you touched her, you'd be considered unclean; she was a sinner. "Don't let that woman touch me."

I am glad that Jesus is touchable, even by sinners. I appreciate that so much. I can reach out and touch the Lord, no matter how badly I feel. He is always within reach.

And so Jesus gave to Simon this little parable about the fellow who had two debtors. One owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty pence. He forgave both their debts. Which one loves him the more? The one forgiven the most. And so Jesus said, "Yes, that's right. And this woman, because her sins are many and are forgiven, loves Me the most."

And so He said to the woman, and I am sure this is just to get Simon's goat,

He said to the woman, Your sins are forgiven ( Luke 7:48 ).

And it had the reaction, I am sure, He was expecting.

And they that were sitting at dinner with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee ( Luke 7:49-50 );

Oh, oh, isn't this interesting. Jesus is bringing to men a whole new relationship to God. A relationship that is based on faith, and salvation through faith. And here this woman's faith puts her a step ahead, and already into that new dispensation of God's grace.

Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace ( Luke 7:50 ).

Always the result for having our sins forgiven.

"



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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/luke-7.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

3. The confusion about Jesus’ identity 7:18-35

It was only natural that these people had questions about who Jesus really was. Was He a prophet? Was He Elijah? Was He another former prophet? Was He "the Prophet" that Moses had predicted (Deuteronomy 18:18)? Was He the Messiah? Was He Immanuel, "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14)? Even John the Baptist began to have questions. On the one hand Jesus was fulfilling prophecy that indicated He was the Messiah. He was preaching righteousness, healing the sick, casting out demons, even raising the dead. However, He was not fulfilling other Messianic prophecies such as freeing the captives (John was one), judging Israel’s enemies, and restoring the Davidic dynasty to power.

Luke included much about the controversy over Jesus’ identity because it authenticates Jesus’ identity and strengthens the confidence of disciples in their Savior. As witnesses of Jesus Christ, Luke’s readers faced many hostile challengers of Jesus’ identity. This section enables disciples to counter these challenges more effectively.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-7.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Luke 7:29-30 do not appear in the Matthew parallel. They reveal a deep division among the people, and they set the scene for Jesus’ comments that follow (Luke 7:31-35).

Many of the "common people," even tax collectors, had responded to John’s message and had undergone his baptism (Luke 3:12; Luke 3:21). When they heard Jesus’ preaching, these people responded positively. They acknowledged God’s justice (justified God) when they heard Jesus speaking highly of John. That is, they accepted God’s ways as they were and did not try to force Him to behave as they might have preferred. Jesus’ words about John vindicated their earlier decision to submit to John’s baptism.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-7.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus’ condemnation of His unbelieving generation 7:29-35 (cf. Matthew 11:16-19)

John had questioned Jesus’ identity, and Jesus had defended John’s identity. Jesus now warned his hearers who rejected John’s identity and Jesus’ identity.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-7.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And all the people that heard him,.... Either Christ saying these things in commendation of John, and gave their assent to them, and showed their approbation of them, having been baptized by him; or rather, the people that had heard John preach the doctrines of repentance and faith, and of baptism; for these words seem rather to be the words of Christ, relating the success of John's ministry among different persons:

and the publicans justified God; even those wicked men, who were before profligate and abandoned sinners, when they came under John's ministry, were so wrought upon by the power and grace of God through it, that they approved of, and applauded the wisdom, goodness, and grace of God, in sending such a prophet as John; in qualifying him in the manner he did, and giving in him a commission to preach such doctrines, and administer such an ordinance as he did: and this their approbation of the divine conduct, and their thankfulness for the same, they testified by their

being baptized with the baptism of John; they expressed their sentiments by their obedience; they declared it was right in God to institute such an ordinance, and for John to administer it; and that it became them to submit to it, as a part of righteousness to be fulfilled; they hereby signified, that they thought that it was agreeable to the nature of God, who is holy, just, and good, suitable to the Gospel dispensation, and very fit and proper for them.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 7:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-7.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

John's Message to Jesus; The Ministry of John and of Christ.


      19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?   20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?   21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.   22 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.   23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.   24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?   25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.   26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.   27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.   28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.   29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.   30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.   31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?   32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.   33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.   34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!   35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

      All this discourse concerning John Baptist, occasioned by his sending to ask whether he was the Messiah or no, we had, much as it is here related, Matthew 11:2-19.

      I. We have here the message John Baptist sent to Christ, and the return he made to it. Observe,

      1. The great thing we are to enquire concerning Christ is whether he be he that should come to redeem and save sinners, or whether we are to look for another, Luke 7:19; Luke 7:20. We are sure that God has promised that a Saviour shall come, an anointed Saviour; we are as sure that what he has promised he will perform in its season. If this Jesus be that promised Messiah, we will receive him, and will look for no other; but, if not, we will continue our expectations, and, though he tarry, will wait for him.

      2. The faith of John Baptist himself, or at least of his disciples, wanted to be confirmed in this matter; for Christ had not yet publicly declared himself to be indeed the Christ, nay, he would not have his disciples, who knew him to be so, to speak of it, till the proofs of his being so were completed in his resurrection. The great men of the Jewish church had not owned him, nor had he gained any interest that was likely to set him upon the throne of his father David. Nothing of that power and grandeur was to be seen about him in which it was expected that the Messiah would appear; and therefore it is not strange that they should ask, Art thou the Messiah? not doubting but that, if he was not, he would direct them what other to look for.

      3. Christ left it to his own works to praise him in the gates, to tell what he was and to prove it. While John's messengers were with him, he wrought many miraculous cures, in that same hour, which perhaps intimates that they staid but an hour with him; and what a deal of work did Christ do in a little time! Luke 7:21; Luke 7:21. He cured many of their infirmities and plagues in body, and of evil spirits that affected the mind either with frenzy or melancholy, and unto many that were blind he gave sight. He multiplied the cures, that there might be no ground left to suspect a fraud; and then (Luke 7:22; Luke 7:22) he bade them go and tell John what they had seen. And he and they might easily argue, as even the common people did (John 7:31), When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? These cures, which they saw him work, were not only confirmations of his commission, but explications of it. The Messiah must come to cure a diseased world, to give light and sight to them that sit in darkness, and to restrain and conquer evil spirits. You see that Jesus does this to the bodies of people, and therefore must conclude this is he that should come to do it to the souls of people, and you are to look for no other. To his miracles in the kingdom of nature he adds this in the kingdom of grace (Luke 7:22; Luke 7:22), To the poor the gospel is preached, which they knew was to be done by the Messiah; for he was anointed to preach the gospel to the meek (Isaiah 61:1), and to save the souls of the poor and needy,Psalms 72:13. Judge, therefore, whether you can look for any other that will more fully answer the characters of the Messiah and the great intentions of his coming.

      4. He gave them an intimation of the danger people were in of being prejudiced against him, notwithstanding these evident proofs of his being the Messiah (Luke 7:23; Luke 7:23): Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me, or scandalized at me. We are here in a state of trial and probation; and it is agreeable to such a state that, as there are sufficient arguments to confirm the truth to those that are honest and impartial in searching after it, and have their minds prepared to receive it, so there should be also objections, to cloud the truth to those that are careless, worldly, and sensual. Christ's education at Nazareth, his residence at Galilee, the meanness of his family and relations, his poverty, and the despicableness of his followers--these and the like were stumbling-blocks to many, which all the miracles he wrought could not help them over. He is blessed, for he is wise, humble, and well disposed, that is not overcome by these prejudices. It is a sign that God has blessed him, for it is by his grace that he is helped over these stumbling-stones; and he shall be blessed indeed, blessed in Christ.

      II. We have here the high encomium which Christ gave of John Baptist; not while his messengers were present (lest he should seem to flatter him), but when they were departed (Luke 7:24; Luke 7:24), to make the people sensible of the advantages they had enjoyed in John's ministry, and were deprived of by his imprisonment. Let them now consider what they went out into the wilderness to see, who that was about whom there had been so much talk and such a great and general amazement. "Come," saith Christ, "I will tell you."

      1. He was a man of unshaken self-consistence, a man of steadiness and constancy. He was not a reed shaken with the wind, first in one direction and then in another, shifting with every wind; he was firm as a rock, not fickle as a reed. If he could have bowed like a reed to Herod, and have complied with the court, he might have been a favourite there; but none of these things moved him.

      2. He was a man of unparalleled self-denial, a great example of mortification and contempt of the world. He was not a man clothed in soft raiment, nor did he live delicately (Luke 7:25; Luke 7:25); but, on the contrary, he lived in a wilderness and was clad and fed accordingly. Instead of adorning and pampering the body, he brought it under, and kept it in subjection.

      3. He was a prophet, had his commission and instructions immediately from God, and not of man or by man. He was by birth a priest, but that is never taken notice of; for his glory, as a prophet, eclipsed the honour of his priesthood. Nay, he was more, he was much more than a prophet (Luke 7:26; Luke 7:26), than any of the prophets of the Old Testament; for they spoke of Christ as at a distance, he spoke of him as at the door.

      4. He was the harbinger and forerunner of the Messiah, and was himself prophesied of in the Old Testament (Luke 7:27; Luke 7:27): This is he of whom it is written (Malachi 3:1), Behold, I send my messenger before thy face. Before he sent the Master himself, he sent a messenger, to give notice of his coming, and prepare people to receive him. Had the Messiah been to appear as a temporal prince, under which character the carnal Jews expected him, his messenger would have appeared either in the pomp of a general or the gaiety of a herald at arms; but it was a previous indication, plain enough, of the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, that the messenger he sent before him to prepare his way did it by preaching repentance and reformation of men's hearts and lives. Certainly that kingdom was not of this world which was thus ushered in.

      5. He was, upon this account, so great, that really there was not a greater prophet than he. Prophets were the greatest that were born of women, more honourable than kings and princes, and John was the greatest of all the prophets. The country was not sensible what a valuable, what an invaluable, man it had in it, when John Baptist went about preaching and baptizing. And yet he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. The least gospel minister, that has obtained mercy of the Lord to be skilful and faithful in his work, or the meanest of the apostles and first preachers of the gospel, being employed under a more excellent dispensation, are in a more honourable office than John Baptist. The meanest of those that follow the Lamb far excel the greatest of those that went before him. Those therefore who live under the gospel dispensation have so much the more to answer for.

      III. We have here the just censure of the men of that generation, who were not wrought upon by the ministry either of John Baptist or of Jesus Christ himself.

      1. Christ here shows what contempt was put upon John Baptist, while he was preaching and baptizing. (1.) Those who did show him any respect were but the common ordinary sort of people, who, in the eye of the gay part of mankind, were rather a disgrace to him than a credit, Luke 7:29; Luke 7:29. The people indeed, the vulgar herd, of whom it was said, This people, who know not the law, are cursed (John 7:49), and the publicans, men of ill fame, as being generally men of bad morals, or taken to be so, these were baptized with his baptism, and became his disciples; and these, though glorious monuments of divine grace, yet did not magnify John in the eye of the world; but by their repentance and reformation they justified God, justified his conduct and the wisdom of it in appointing such a one as John Baptist to be the forerunner of the Messiah: they hereby made it to appear that it was the best method that could be taken, for it was not in vain to them whatever it was to others. (2.) The great men of their church and nation, the polite and the politicians, that would have done him some credit in the eye of the world, did him all the dishonour they could; they heard him indeed, but they were not baptized of him,Luke 7:30; Luke 7:30. The Pharisees, who were most in reputation for religion and devotion, and the lawyers, who were celebrated for their learning, especially their knowledge of the scriptures, rejected the counsel of God against themselves; they frustrated it, they received the grace of God, by the baptism of John, in vain. God in sending that messenger among them had a kind purpose of good to them, designed their salvation by it, and, if they had closed with the counsel of God, it had been for themselves, they had been made for ever; but they rejected it, would not comply with it, and it was against themselves, it was to their own ruin; they came short of the benefit intended them, and not only so, but forfeited the grace of God, put a bar in their own door, and, by refusing that discipline which was to fit them for the kingdom of the Messiah, shut themselves out of it, and they not only excluded themselves, but hindered others, and stood in their way.

      2. He here shows the strange perverseness of the men of that generation, in their cavils both against John and Christ, and the prejudices they conceived against them.

      (1.) They made but a jesting matter of the methods God took to do them good (Luke 7:31; Luke 7:31): "Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? What can I think of absurd enough to represent them by? They are, then, like children sitting in the market-place, that mind nothing that is serious, but are as full of play as they can hold. As if God were but in jest with them, in all the methods he takes to do them good, as children are with one another in the market-place (Luke 7:32; Luke 7:32), they turn it all off with a banter, and are not more affected with it than with a piece of pageantry." This is the ruin of multitudes, they can never persuade themselves to be serious in the concerns of their souls. Old men, sitting in the sanhedrim, were but as children sitting in the market-place, and no more affected with the things that belonged to their everlasting peace than people are with children's play. O the amazing stupidity and vanity of the blind and ungodly world! The Lord awaken them out of their security.

      (2.) They still found something or other to carp at. [1.] John Baptist was a reserved austere man, lived much in solitude, and ought to have been admired for being such a humble, sober, self-denying man, and hearkened to as a man of thought and contemplation; but this, which was his praise, was turned to his reproach. Because he came neither eating nor drinking, so freely, plentifully, and cheerfully, as others did, you say, "He has a devil; he is a melancholy man, he is possessed, as the demoniac whose dwelling was among the tombs, though he be not quite so wild." [2.] Our Lord Jesus was of a more free and open conversation; he came eating and drinking,Luke 7:34; Luke 7:34. He would go and dine with Pharisees, though he knew they did not care for him; and with publicans, though he knew they were no credit to him; yet, in hopes of doing good both to the one and the other, he conversed familiarly with them. By this it appears that the ministers of Christ may be of very different tempers and dispositions, very different ways of preaching and living, and yet all good and useful; diversity of gifts, but each given to profit withal. Therefore none must make themselves a standard to all others, nor judge hardly of those that do not do just as they do. John Baptist bore witness to Christ, and Christ applauded John Baptist, though they were the reverse of each other in their way of living. But the common enemies of them both reproached them both. The very same men that had represented John as crazed in his intellects, because he came neither eating nor drinking, represented our Lord Jesus as corrupt in his morals, because he came eating and drinking; he is a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber. Ill-will never speaks well. See the malice of wicked people, and how they put the worst construction upon every thing they meet with in the gospel, and in the preachers and professors of it; and hereby they think to depreciate them, but really destroy themselves.

      3. He shows that, notwithstanding this, God will be glorified in the salvation of a chosen remnant (Luke 7:35; Luke 7:35): Wisdom is justified of all her children. There are those who are given to wisdom as her children, and they shall be brought by the grace of God to submit to wisdom's conduct and government, and thereby to justify wisdom in the ways she takes for bringing them to that submission; for to them they are effectual, and thereby appear well chosen. Wisdom's children are herein unanimous, one and all, they have all a complacency in the methods of grace which divine wisdom takes, and think never the worse of them for their being ridiculed by some.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Luke 7:29". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/luke-7.html. 1706.