Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 20
Thesis: God's solution to "Death" is "Sonshine".
Introduction: In our prior study, we considered the "tender feelings of God" as they have their roots in His "mercy". We made the claim that Luke has deliberately created a "new" Theology in Luke 1 by insisting upon two major "T"heological issues. The first is the "character" issue: God is "merciful". The second is the "methodology" issue: God is "gracious". The record of the New Testament is the record of the rescue of man from his "T"heological perversity by the forceful confrontation of that perversity by God Himself as He "irrupted" into man's physical world. In spite of four thousand years of divine activity, man, by the time of the Incarnation, had turned from the merciful God to God as "The Just Judge", and had turned grace into a divine condescension by God toward men of merit (even now, witness the preaching about Noah as a man who "found grace in the eyes of the Lord"). The climax was reached as Israel was twisted into a nation of idolators whose worship of "The Just Judge" had turned them into the worst style of hypocrits that the world had ever seen and as God descended from on High to walk among them to expose that hypocrisy and reveal the Truth of His mercy and grace. The result was, among many things, the record of Luke's witness to Theophilus. That revelation of mercy and grace is also the root of our current study of Luke's witness.
This morning, our study is going to focus upon Luke's presentation of God's solution to man's problem.
November 28, 2004
- I. The Problem Defined: Death.
- A. Luke 1:78-79 is the climax of Zacharias' outburst of prophetic praise.
- B. In 1:79 Zacharias described man's "problem" as...
- 1. Sitting.
- a. There is a stark contrast in 1:79 between the activities of the "dying" and the "living".
- 1) The "dying" are pictured as "sitting".
- 2) The "living" are pictured as "walking".
- b. The point of the image is man's almost complete lethargy.
- 1) This is not to say that man is not extremely energetic in terms of his pursuit of what he calls "life" on his terms.
- 2) This is to say that when man is viewed in respect to his interest in Truth, he seems to have little to none: sitting is a posture of lethargy and complacency in regard to any need to "act".
- 2. Sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.
- a. "Sitting" in darkness means that man has no light and does not care.
- 1) The masking of reality by man's focus upon his outer being (his physical body) enables him to sit in darkness without a care because he is physically healthy and materially prosperous enough to gorge his body regularly and daily.
- 2) The delusion that has settled upon man is that all will continue as it is.
- 3) Thus, he sits. No motivation or inclination to seek out the salvation of God.
- b. "Sitting" in the shadow of death means that man has no idea of the danger he is in.
- 1) It is not that he is without a witness of his danger -- he is filled with phobias and "mechanisms" by which to cope.
- 2) It is, simply, that his danger has been "managed" so that he can rather comfortably "sit" in the very presence of Death without even squirming.
- II. The Solution Given: Sonshine.
- A. In the imagery of Zacharias, the coming of the Son of Mary is called a "visitation" from on high in the form of a sunrise.
- 1. The imagery is ancient and has roots all over the Old Testament
- 2. But its essence is that of the creation of a "dawn" by the rising of the sun in the east.
- 3. The fundamental issue is "light"...not to "create" a new reality, but to enable the reality that is to be seen with clarity and appreciation.
- a. This is why it is called a "visitation" -- it brings a solution to a real problem.
- b. As a "visitation" the form of the solution is True Insight into the Reality that is.
- c. The Lukan "Reality" is the two-fold theological shift from Justice to Mercy and from Legalism to Grace.
- B. This imagery takes the form of a divine "irruption" into history that is then preserved by an accurate record in words.
- 1. As there is such a thing as a sunrise, there was such a thing as a Son Rise.
- 2. This "rising" was the incarnation by which God came into the physical, sensory world of man in his "outer man focus" to confront that focus.
- 3. Then, having accomplished the confrontation personally, the Son sent both His Spirit and His Words to continue the confrontation...thus, Luke's record by the Spirit.
- C. The imagery takes man from his lethargic experience of darkness and death and moves him into the energetic pursuit of Peace.
- 1. When the Son gives light, there is no more "sitting".
- 2. When the Son gives light, there is only progress on to, and upward on, the Highway of Peace -- first with God and then, as much as lieth in us, with men.