At the outset of his Gospel, Luke told Theophilus that after investigating the matters thoroughly, he set out to write an orderly account of the things that Jesus said and did (Luke 1:1-4). In Luke 7-8, Luke recorded some of Jesus’ messianic miracles and how observers responded to Jesus. When Jesus taught, He presented Himself as the focal point of God’s revelation in the Old Testament. Jesus’ ministry had shared points of contact with the prophets of Israel but ushered in an era that was qualitatively superior. Jesus read Scripture as a storyline that reached its apex in Himself.
(1) In Luke 7:27, Jesus affirmed John the Baptist’s role as His forerunner by quoting Mal 3:1. During the early stages of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, some believed upon Jesus, but others rejected Him. Over time, even John the Baptist began to re-evaluate his cousin. John had baptized Jesus but was soon jailed for preaching against Herod the tetrarch (Matt 14:3-4//Mark 6:17-18//Luke 3:19-20). While Jesus was ministering throughout Galilee, proclaiming the good news and healing many—acts that confirmed His messianic claims—John was left in prison (Matt 11:2-19//Luke 7:18-30). John thought that Messiah would not only preach and heal, but also exercise God’s wrath upon Israel’s enemies in accord with Isa 35:4, “Say to the faint-hearted: ‘Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; He will save you.’” John thus sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus if Jesus was in fact the Messiah. The Lord answered with deductive reasoning, affirming that John was in fact the messenger who had been sent according to Mal 3:1: “Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You” (Luke 7:27). Since John was the messenger of the Lord, the Lord had indeed arrived. While Jesus emphasized John’s greatness, He also pointed out that an entirely new day had dawned in His coming, saying, “The least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
(2) In Luke 8:10, Jesus employed the words of the prophet Isaiah to explain His use of parables. As Jesus’ popularity grew, prompted primarily by the miraculous signs He performed, Jesus began to teach in parables. Learning from a parable required ears that had been enabled to discern the thrust of the figure. Jesus used the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3-9//Mark 4:3-9//Luke 8:4-8), to communicate the reality that only the good soil responds appropriately to the scattered word. Thus, at the end of the day, the quality of the soil is revealed by the crop it produces. When the disciples were puzzled about the meaning of the Parable of the Sower and asked Jesus for an interpretation, Jesus cited Isa 6:9, saying, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that: ‘Looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’” (Luke 8:10b). Jesus quoted from the section of Isaiah that records the prophet’s call experience. Isaiah was sent to preach in Judah during the Assyrian advance—a time when the hearts of the people were not receptive to God’s messenger. Jesus’ parables served a dual purpose, revealing the truth of His kingdom to those who had been made perceptive while also hiding God’s word from the hardened.