I’ve always considered Jesus a humble man until I read this passage in Luke. In this incident, he seems really hao lian. For my non-Singaporean readers, that’s local slang for arrogant, cocky or smug. Look with me at Luke chapter 7 verse 18.
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 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?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Luke 7:18-23 ESV)
So John who was very concerned to verify the identity of Jesus — is he really the Saviour who the Jews have been waiting for on centuries?! — sent a couple of disciples to ask Jesus nicely. “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” The poor fellows just didn’t want to be barking up the wrong tree, right?
But what did Jesus do? He spends the next hour ‘bringing it on’. He heals people of diseases, plagues and evil spirits and even makes the blind see — flashy and very amazing to watch. But how does that answer their question?
Then he deems it’s time to respond: “Go and tell your teacher what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them!”
The miracles he performed were closely associated with the arrival of the Jewish Messiah in OT prophecies. With the evidence at hand, John can come to his own conclusion that Jesus is indeed the coming one predicted in the OT.
Still, why the show-off when he could have said a simple “Yes I am the one”? And he even claimed, “And for those who are not offended by me? Good for you! You are blessed.”
Could this really be the same man who spoke:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV, emphasis mine)
A gentle-and-lowly-in-heart guy who’s also hao lian and show-off? Have you ever met a guy like that?