What does Luke 7:26 mean?
ESV: What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
NIV: But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
NASB: But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.
CSB: What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
NLT: Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet.
KJV: But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
NKJV: But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is addressing a mixed crowd of people. Some heard and accepted John the Baptist's message; others rejected his call to repentance because they would lose too much influence in society. Jesus designs His third question to lead the crowd into understanding who John the Baptist is. He has already asked if they came to see reeds so fragile the wind can shake them, or a man dressed in fine clothes (Luke 7:24–25). Now, He reveals the answer.

John was born about four hundred years after Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets. Although we have Intertestamental books, like the Maccabees, no inspired Scripture was written between the book of Malachi and the New Testament. And although God seems to have, on rare occasion, spoken to the priests, like John's father Zechariah (Luke 1:8–23), John was the first to be truly called as a prophet since Malachi.

But John is not an ordinary Old Testament-era prophet. He is the promised prophet who speaks with the spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17). He is the one Malachi promised who would herald the Messiah (Luke 7:27). Because of his role, John is the greatest prophet who ever lived. He is the bridge between the Jewish prophets and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Even though John is in prison, Jesus' audience knows John and has heard him speak. Many of them—the sinners and tax collectors—received his baptism and repented of their sins. Others, such as the Pharisees, rejected him and his message (Luke 7:29–30).
Verse Context:
Luke 7:24–35 records Jesus making an interesting observation. John lived an ascetic, monk-like lifestyle in the wilderness; Jesus eats and drinks alongside moral and social outcasts. Yet both preach the same message of repentance of sins. The sinners and tax collectors respond to both John and Jesus, drawn to the message without concern for their lifestyles. Stubborn religious leaders, however, claim to judge their lifestyles; what they really can't accept is the message proclaimed by Jesus and John. This section is also depicted in Matthew 11:7–19.
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.
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