Luke 7:18-23 Word And Deed Prove Him To Be The Coming One.
Before the people marveled at Jesus’ deeds they “marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” (Lk. 4:22). “They were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.” (4:32) This was followed by the casting out of an unclean spirit and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. Many more were then healed as He continued to preach the kingdom of God. He then enlisted the help of His first disciples (5:1-11). He then cleansed a leper and healed a paralytic, emphasizing the more important truth that He had authority to forgive sins (5:17-26). He then called Matthew to serve (5:27-32). After teaching about fasting, He then proclaimed Himself to be Lord of the Sabbath, and healed the man with the withered hand (6:1ff.). He then proceeded with extensive teaching before the encounter with the centurion and the healing of his servant, and the raising up of the widow’s son (6:20-7:17).
All along the way to this point of contact with John the Baptist, word preceded deed, but both together caused the people to marvel and speculate as to Jesus’ status, including John’s disciples (vv. 18-19 Cf. Mt. 11:2-3). This all led John to ask himself whether Jesus was indeed “the Coming One.” (v. 20 Cf. Mic. 5:2; Zech. 9:9; Mal. 3:1-3) He had to send his disciples because he had been thrown into prison for confronting Herod for his evils (3:19-20). It was John’s mission to call people to repentance, and this was part of the price he paid. He also knew that it was his role to prepare the way for the Coming One, and so he asks his disciples to ask Jesus if He was indeed the One. As the disciples were with Jesus they saw and heard what He was doing and teaching. In both word and deed they had confirmation-people were being healed, raised from the dead, and they had the gospel preached to them. These were signs that He was indeed the Coming One (vv. 21-23 Cf. Mt. 11:4-6; Is. 35:5; 61:1-3).