What does Luke 7:21 mean?
ESV: In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight.
NIV: At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.
NASB: At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind.
CSB: At that time Jesus healed many people of diseases, afflictions, and evil spirits, and he granted sight to many blind people.
NLT: At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. As such, throughout His ministry He fulfilled many Messianic prophecies as recorded in the Jewish Scriptures—that which Christians label the "Old Testament." John the Baptist has sent his disciples to determine if Jesus' works really affirm that identity (Luke 7:18–20). He may be experiencing hesitation because Jesus had not yet fulfilled some prophecies about Messiah. In the presence of those messengers, Jesus performs miraculous acts. Next, He will explain to them what they've seen and how to explain it to John (Luke 7:22–23).

"Disease" as used here simply means illness. A "plague" implies a more painful condition; the Greek word is sometimes used of torture. "Evil spirits" are demons, such as the one Jesus expelled in the synagogue on the Sabbath early in His ministry (Luke 4:31–37). Healing disease, expelling demons, and even raising the dead (Luke 7:14–15) are powerful signs that someone is a prophet of God, but they don't necessarily identify the promised Messiah.

Where Jesus is different is in healing the blind and deaf. No prophet in the Old Testament healed a blind person other than events where the blindness was for temporary judgment (2 Kings 6:18–19). Even in the New Testament, this is the case (Acts 9:18). Giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf is a sign of the Messiah (Isaiah 35:5).

Jesus makes many blind people see again. John the Baptist, the son of a priest (Luke 1:5, 57), would understand the significance of such an act. But John also knows that Jesus had not yet fulfilled every prophecy of the Messiah. He has not yet freed the prisoners nor judged the wicked (Isaiah 61:1–2). John is looking for "the one who is to come" (Luke 7:20)—"one like a son of man" whom the Ancient of Days will give "dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him" (Daniel 7:13–14). Sitting in prison, soon to be beheaded (Mark 6:21–29), John reaches out for reassurance that he did not spend his life in vain.
Verse Context:
Luke 7:18–23 speaks about John the Baptist's expectations regarding Jesus. He understands how Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah in His healing and good news. Yet Jesus hasn't completed every aspect of prophecy yet. He has not freed the prisoners—like John—nor judged the wicked. Jesus doesn't criticize John. He simply asks him to be patient. Next, Jesus describes the different reactions to His and John's contrasting lifestyles, though both come with the same message. John's doubt is also recorded in Matthew 11:2–6. Later verses tie Old Testament prophecy to John with references to Malachi 3:1 and to Jesus via several passages in Isaiah.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 7 presents a chiasm: a set of themes mirrored around a reflection point. The humble centurion (Luke 7:1–10) contrasts the legalistic Pharisee (Luke 7:39–50). The widow of Nain (Luke 7:11–17) and the sinful women (Luke 7:36–38) have nothing to offer but gratitude for Jesus' blessings. In the center are John the Baptist and his disciples who struggle to trust that Jesus is worth following (Luke 7:18–23), then the sinners who do choose to follow Jesus and the religious leaders who refuse (Luke 7:24–35).
Chapter Context:
Luke 7 continues Jesus' mission primarily to the people of Galilee expressed as a series of pointed events and teachings punctuated by calls to follow Him. He has finished teaching the rigors of discipleship (Luke 6:17–45) and invited the crowd to place their faith in Him (Luke 6:46–49). Here, Luke describes different reactions to Jesus' miracles and message. Next, Jesus will reveal the mechanics of and reactions to His call (Luke 8:4–21) before showing His great authority over nature, demons, sickness, and worldly powers (Luke 8:22—9:17). After a final call to the disciples to deepen their faith (Luke 9:18–50), Jesus will turn toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51—19:27).
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 6/13/2024 12:11:10 PM
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