Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2
Thesis: The divine provision of an effective Redeemer was rooted in grace-based wisdom.
Introduction: Last week we began our consideration of Luke's presentation of the "Child" as a "child" -- i.e., an object of the "frantic" heart of the Father (an anthropomorphism deliberately designed to picture the height and depth of His love -- Ephesians 3:17-19) whose personal response was that of one who perfectly understood the "wisdom-based" response of one loved so greatly.
Luke's record is of a "child" who is fully committed to "the things of His Father".
This morning we are going to look again into Luke's introductory remarks to note the methods of God in providing us with a Redeemer.
September 25, 2005
- I. The First Consideration: the Background of Redemption.
- A. Obviously, there are many issues in the background of redemption...a fact easily seen by the massive amount of information that was given by God prior to the coming of Jesus.
- B. Just as obviously, Luke deliberately pulled "growth", "strength", "wisdom" and "grace" to the fore.
- C. And, according to his expression in language forms, Luke also deliberately put those four issues into a discernible order of importance, from least to greatest.
- 1. First, and of least significance, the "Child" was "growing".
- 2. Second, and of a bit more significance, the "Child" was "being strengthened".
- 3. Third, and of even more significance, the "Child" was "being filled with wisdom".
- 4. And fourth, and of the greatest significance, the "Child" was attended by the grace of God.
- D. In terms of "specific focus" for his reader's sake, Luke's comment on "wisdom" is the most deliberate and helpful.
- 1. The "big idea" regarding the coming of Jesus is "Redemption".
- a. Luke 2:38 puts "redemption" before our eyes.
- b. The larger text of Luke 2:21-39 brackets this "redemption" thesis with the issue of the fulfillment of all of the Law's requirements so that redemption can occur.
- 2. The "redemption" thesis, in the specific context of "wisdom", compels our recall of what "wisdom" had to do with the need for redemption in the first place.
- a. In 1 Timothy 2:14, in context, Luke's mentor plainly declared that Adam was not deceived in the Genesis 3 events.
- b. But this is not a blanket statement by Paul that Adam was "wise". He, very obviously, was not.
- 1) The statement was only that Adam was "clear-eyed" about one thing: he knew that death was going to result from eating the fruit of the tree.
- 2) The statement was not that Adam was "clear-eyed" about many other things.
- c. This raises the question of "wisdom": in what way did Adam "fail to be wise"?
- 1) We can answer that question by looking at what actually happened in the light of Adam's "lack of deception".
- a) We are told pointedly by Moses that Eve was God's solution to a "not good" situation of which Adam was a central figure.
- i. The "not good" was Adam's "solitary" condition.
- ii. The "not good" was in the context of God's purpose for Adam as His "image".
- b) Given Adam's understanding of what it meant for Eve to have eaten the proscribed fruit, we must understand that Adam knew that she had put him back into the "solitary" condition.
- c) At this point, we can see where Adam failed to be "wise": he considered Eve's action to have a permanent consequence in regard to his experience of life.
- 2) We can give further answer by looking at what "wisdom" would have done in Adam's Eve-generated situation.
- a) From our vantage point, we know what wisdom would have done.
- i. We are privileged to possess the record of Job which reveals the fundamental truth that final loyalty belongs to God, not to our experience of life.
- ii. We are privileged to possess the records of Jesus' teaching which reveal that the confusion of loyalties inescapably produces death while the clear-eyed maintenance of loyalty inescapably produces the joy of life over the long haul (he that seeks to save ... shall lose; he that loses ... shall save -- Matthew 16:25).
- b) From our vantage point, we now know what Adam did not know: that provisions of God for our life are not substitutions for God in our lives.
- i. It was a huge and foolish blunder in Adam's thinking to equate Eve with the "solution" to "solitariness".
- ii. Eve was nothing more or less than God's provision for "solitariness"; she was not the providing God.
- iii. There was no reason of any kind for Adam to think that the God Who had first identified the "not good" was not still the God of a good solution. It was God, after all, who made the original provision.
- 3) We can conclude our answer by learning from Adam's "bottom-line" error: he was not clear on where life comes from (never from the provision itself; always from the providing God) and he did not trust the Original Provider to be what He had already proven Himself to be.
- II. The Second Consideration: the Provider of Redemption.
- A. The "Child" was growing.
- B. The "Child" was "being strengthened".
- C. The "strengthening" was by means of an on-going "filling" with wisdom.
- D. The "filling" was accomplished by the grace of God.
- 1. Luke ultimately presents what is happening to Jesus as the consequence of the final statement: Grace from God was upon Him.
- a. In the theology of grace as the New Testament develops it with great clarity, God is foremost in the picture of what is.
- 1) Grace, at its core, is essentially God in action...His wisdom, His power, His choices, and His activities in harmony with His Overall Plan.
- 2) Grace, by its most clear illustrations, takes man completely out of the picture as an initiator-actor.
- a) Paul says in Ephesians 1 that "grace" is most clearly seen in the context of divine predeterminism (a concept that generates howls of rebellion from those who do not wish Him to be the Final Arbiter of what will be).
- b) The New Testament presents the "grace" of God as the fundamental root of both the activities and accomplishments of Jesus, the Christ, and the Other Comforter, the Holy Spirit...neither of whom give any acknowledgement of man's capactity for righteousness as an "independent creature". The Christ even said of the most wicked actions of man in regard to His own murderous death that "No man taketh My life from Me...I lay it down of Myself" (John 10:18). Thus, man cannot even take credit for being a significant contributor to the redemption-by-death process.
- b. The issue of our text is that Jesus is a baby growing to manhood as a man.
- 1) He is "locked into" man-ness; i.e., He has only the provisions of humanity at His disposal as a man.
- 2) He is not, however, locked out of access to Grace; i.e., He was limited to His humanity as a man but was not limited in terms of the Grace which God applied.
- 2. Jesus' growth into a sufficient wisdom to enable Him to be an adequate Redeemer was underwritten by the grace of God.
- a. God is actually doing with a "new" Adam what the old Adam did not trust Him to do: create a "new" Eve.
- b. The failure of the first is supplanted by the success of the Second.