The Question of John the Baptist and Jesus’ Indictment of the Religious Leaders: A Critical Analysis of Luke 7:18-35

By Roberto Martínez

A critical analysis of Luke 7:18-35 that offers an intriguing answer to the problematic question of John the Baptist: ‘Are you the one who is to come?’.

ISBN: 9780227680117


“Are you the one who is to come?”Luke 7:19

Luke 7:18-35 has attracted the attention of commentators and scholars since the patristic era, but its significance has often been glossed over, misunderstood or misrepresented. Divergent interpretations of John the Baptist’s question within the context of the passage have influenced the way in which commentators have understand the role of John, the identity of Jesus, and the relationship between them, including the school of thought that
John saw Jesus as an adversary.

In this book, Roberto Martínez contributes to our understanding with a refreshing use of a narrative-critical perspective, which has only recently gained prominence within the field of Biblical studies. This is the very first study that deals exclusively with this pericope, building upon previous Lukan scholarship dominated by historical-critical and redaction-critical views.

Drawing from a variety of interpretations, Martínez explores whether the question of the Baptist had to do with John’s difficulty to accept that the ‘one who is to come’ had to face death, and addresses the contradiction in verses 19-20 where John’s disciples seem to question Jesus’ identity despite John’s prior affirmation that Jesus is the Lamb of God. The questions of authorship and historical background are also examined. Finally, he shows how Luke puts this tradition about John and Jesus at the service of his theocentric and christological views and offers an alternative explanation to the prevailing understanding of John’s question.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Roberto Martínez is Adjunct Professor of New Testament at the Study Center of the Dominican of the Caribbean (CEDOC) in Puerto Rico. He completed his doctoral dissertation at the Catholic University of America.


List of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Figures

1. Luke 7:18-35: A Historical Survey
2. The Origin, Redaction, and Literary Function of Luke 7:18-35
3. A Narrative-Critical Interpretation of 7:18-28
4. A Narrative-Critical Interpretation of 7:29-35
5. Conclusion: A Narrative-Critical Interpretation of Luke 7:18-35

Index of Subjects
Index of Authors
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Writings


Endorsements and Reviews

Disciples of John the Baptist make a sudden appearance in Luke’s gospel at 7:18. Their appearance allows the evangelist to reprise the comparison between John and Jesus found in the Infancy Narratives, with greater emphasis on their respective roles in the history of salvation. Using both the historical-critical method and the literary-method of textual analysis, Martínez carefully teases out the meaning of what Jesus had to say about John and himself in a stream of consciousness response to the critical question, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’
Raymond F. Collins, Visiting Scholar, Brown University

… the strength of the book lies prominently in his narrative-critical exegesis of the entire pericope (Luke 7:18-35), where he highlights, among other things, Jesus’ praises of John, the literally skills of Luke in presenting the plan of God in John’s final identification and confirmation of Jesus as the expected Messiah.
Michael U. Udoekpo, Sacred Heart School of Theology, in Theological Book Review, Vol 25, No 1

… this study is probably the only monograph about the important text Luke 7:18-35.
Michael Hölscher, Department of Catholic Theology, University of Graz, in The Expository Times, Vol 125, No 9