Luke 7:19

ESV calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
NIV he sent them to the Lord to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'
NASB And after summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, 'Are You the Coming One, or are we to look for another?'
CSB and sent them to the Lord, asking, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? "
NLT and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, 'Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?'
KJV 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?

What does Luke 7:19 mean?

John the Baptist is imprisoned by Herod Antipas. His disciples have reported to him about Jesus' miraculous works. John tells two of his disciples to confirm Jesus is the One John had been called to herald (Luke 3:15–18). Scholars debate why John asks the question. Some insist John is not showing doubt, since he even recognized Jesus before his own birth (Luke 1:41–44). They think he is transitioning his own disciples to follow Jesus.

Most Bible teachers, however, interpret John's motivation through the lens of Luke 7:23. Jesus says, "And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." In this context, that phrasing implies someone becoming apostate: to abandon faith entirely. There's no suspicion John would ever do so; Luke 13:28 assures that all God's true prophets are saved. So, if John knows more about Jesus than almost anyone else, why would he doubt?

Any hesitation from John might come from his interpretation of prophecy. He knows Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. But, to this point in Jesus' life, He has only filled prophecies about healing and good news (Isaiah 26:19; 35:5–6; 61:1). He has not fulfilled the prophecies of judgment against the wicked (Isaiah 26:20; 29:20; 61:2). Especially relevant to John—currently a prisoner—Christ has not yet established freedom for captives (Isaiah 61:1). The disciples and Jewish rulers struggled to understand a Messiah who did not expel Roman occupiers and bring political freedom for Israel. John still waits to be released from the prison of Herod Antipas who should be judged for brazen adultery (Mark 6:17).

Luke's version of this event is more detailed than Matthew's (Matthew 11:2–6). This may be on behalf of Theophilus to bolster his own "certainty concerning the things [he had] been taught" (Luke 1:4). Luke calls Jesus "Lord" as if to remind his reader that despite John's doubts, Jesus really is Lord. Luke also specifies that John sends two disciples, which follows the regulation for legal witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15).

"The one who is to come" is an important descriptor. It is a Messianic title in Daniel 7:13, a reference to God in Isaiah 40:10, and a prophesied figure from John, himself (Luke 3:15–16). John wants to be clear that Jesus is more than "a great prophet [who] has arisen among us" as the people of Nain called Him (Luke 7:16).
What is the Gospel?
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