Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 4 Study # 7
Thesis: How are we to handle our ignorance?
Introduction: It is clear from our studies in Luke 2:40-52 that two things are true: Jesus is the Redeemer from God; and redemption is no small thing. In our study last week we saw that Luke was focused, in this paragraph, upon the issue of the absolute necessity for wisdom in a creation in which there is a major, malignant distortion of Truth. We saw that this necessity rests upon every participant in this creation that has any interest whatsoever in "living". And we saw that Luke's focus was upon Jesus as the "wise One", not upon those He came to redeem. This focus is crucial because there is no hope of redemption from a stupid redeemer. The pitfalls of ignorance and stupidity are many and exceedingly dangerous. If the entire world can be plunged into a type of "condition" that has the inevitable result of the death of more than 3 billion persons in less than seven years of earth history by the most simple act of plucking a fruit from a tree and taking a bite, what is the nature of the dangers that surround us?
This morning we are going to take one last look at Luke's paragraph about Jesus' wisdom. In this look we are going to raise this question: How are we to handle our ignorance?
October 30, 2005
- I. The Reason for the Question.
- A. Luke's "backdrop" for his presentation of Jesus' wisdom is His parents' lack of it.
- 1. In the record, Joseph and Mary are cast in the light of people who "just don't get it".
- 2. Not only does Jesus' question to Mary clearly raise the issue of her ignorance, Luke immediately turns right around and comments on the fact that neither she nor Joseph "got it".
- B. Luke's use of Joseph and Mary as the "ignorant" is not just about Joseph and Mary being ignorant: it is about the reality of the ignorance that is systemic to the human condition.
- 1. The initial hint that "we have a problem" is found in Luke's introduction to his Gospel in which he tells Theophilus that he needs to know the exact truth. This is set into a record in which we are regularly told that people were "amazed" at Jesus' doctrine and actions -- seemingly making 4000 years of revelatory activity a futility.
- 2. The second hint is found in the description of an old priest who was doing everything "by the book", but was, in his old age, a frankly cynical old man even in the presence of the mighty Gabriel.
- 3. The third hint is found in the prophecy regarding John the Baptizer that he was to be "filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb".
- 4. The fourth hint is no hint: it is a blatant declaration of enormous ignorance on the part of a godly young woman who was chosen by God to be blessed above all mothers on the planet.
- a. The enormity of the ignorance of Joseph and Mary is expressed by Jesus in His response to Mary's accusation of mistreatment by Him.
- 1) He asked, "How is it that you did not know?" This question is formed as a "pluperfect": it means there was something that was supposed to have been learned a long time ago.
- 2) He identified the point of ignorance as "the necessity of His being 'in the things' of His Father". This is the most fundamental issue of all issues.
- a) There is absolutely nothing more critical to the identity of the Redeemer than that He be "in His Father's things".
- b) Nor is there anything more important for people to believe than that that Father's will for His Redeemer is not something that we ought to get "all bent out of shape" over.
- b. The problem with the enormity of the ignorance is its impact upon the experience of "Life" by the ignorant.
- 1) Mary expresses her "experience" in the same term that Jesus used to describe a person's "experience" of Hell (Luke 16:24-25).
- 2) Mary "blames" Jesus for her experience -- thus, compounding it to the absolute impossibility of a solution (if we blame the Comforter for our discomfort, to whom shall we turn?).
- II. The Answer to the Question.
- A. The beginning of the answer is our willingness to admit our ignorance.
- 1. It is no accident that politics and religion are the two hottest issues in people's lives and that arguments involving them are the most rancorous.
- 2. It is also no accident that people will go to almost any length to attempt to appear to be knowledgable about "God" in complete denial of the facts.
- B. The "answer" is partially about "education".
- 1. Luke would not have written if learning details was not a part of the solution.
- 2. But the fact that three others had to be empowered to write also indicates that Luke's writings are insufficient in themselves.
- 3. And the fact that partial understanding often leads to towering arrogance is as clear an indicator as there is that "education" is, at best, only a partial answer.
- C. The "answer" is partially about "retaining" what one learns.
- 1. Luke twice wrote that Mary stored these things in her heart (2:19, 51).
- 2. But Luke's later record about Mary's attitude toward Jesus (Luke 8) indicates that this is only a partial solution.
- D. The "answer" is partially about believing a crucial promise: Proverbs 3:5.
- E. The "answer" is partially about persevering hope.
- 1. Ultimately, Jesus is presented against the backdrop of our ignorance because our ignorance is irresolvable.
- 2. Ultimately, Jesus is presented against the backdrop of our ignorance so that we might have a legitimate focus for our faith (2 Corinthians 1:9).
- 3. Ultimately, Jesus is presented against the backdrop of our ignorance so that we might maintain the balance of humility and confidence.