who will prepare your way before you.’
Now that John the Baptist had been brought to the attention of the crowd by the question John had sent his disciples to ask Jesus, Jesus took the opportunity to speak to the crowds about John. Or, more accurately, about the crowd's belief in John and therefore about their belief in Jesus.
Jesus was blunt with them. Why did you go see John preach? Why did you travel miles and miles to see and hear him? Because he was a reed shaken by the wind? Because he didn't have a spine? Note the sarcasm. On the contrary, John was a man of deep conviction and that's why they went to hear him speak. Did they go to see a "yes" man, cowtowing to the leaders of the day in order to live a life of luxury? John lived a life of self-denial and preached the truth no matter the consequences - even to King Herod's face, as evidenced by the fact that he now resided in prison.
They went to hear a man of conviction preach the message of God, the message of repentance.
They believed he was a prophet. They believed he was a man of God. In fact, they believed he was more than a prophet! He was the fulfillment of prophecy himself! He was the prophesied prophet, the messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah. That's why they were willing to undergo baptism, symbolizing that they were no better off than the Gentiles, that their birthright didn't grant them automatic salvation.
And if they believed all that about John - they also had to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, because that's what John the Baptist preached.
It's the simple math equation: if a=b and b=c, then a=c.
They cannot believe all that about John the Baptist and dismiss Jesus as Messiah. It's all or nothing.
What do you believe about John the Baptist? And, therefore, what do you believe about Jesus?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 7:27-30