Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
Thesis: The "opening salvo" of "Life by Redemption" is the "Nazareth" issue.
Introduction: In our first study of Luke's presentation of the works and teachings of Jesus, we noted that Luke was "introducing" the Jesus of that ministry. This is an absolutely crucial issue in our day when everyone in our so-called "Christian" setting claims that they represent "Jesus". It is one thing to use the word "Jesus"; it is altogether a different thing to present the "character" of Jesus. There is only one real Jesus. So Luke set about to unveil the true Jesus. Luke's "Jesus" was "empowered" by the Holy Spirit of God, but He did not scream and rant and say "Praise the Lord" three times in every sentence. Luke's "Jesus" did what He did and said what He said so that people had to "take notice": His actions and teachings were "inescapable". And Luke's "Jesus" made it inescapably clear that it was His teaching which absolutely defines the issues of "Life". Luke's "Jesus" was completely immersed in a "return" ministry: a ministry that was God's "return" to the "Adam" issue and His solution to the "Adam" failure...and no one will benefit from that "return" who is in rebellion against God's "Jesus".
Now, as we "return" to our text this morning, we immediately note that Luke began the "specifics" of His presentation of the true "Jesus" by telling us of His "return" to Nazareth and the murderous response that He received in that place. This is a very "telling" fact -- that Luke decided to begin his presentation of the works and words of Jesus with the attempted murder of Jesus by the folks who lived in the town where He spent the first thirty years of His time on this earth.
What is going on? What is going on is this: Luke decided that he would begin by taking the bull by the horns. There is no real point in "molly-coddling" those who are rebels against the Kingdom of God. It is purely a latter day American point of stupidity to attempt to be "seeker friendly". On the one hand the Word of God says there is no such thing as a "seeker" [Romans 3:11], and on the other hand, there is nothing "friendly" about calling people "the offspring of vipers" -- the description of people outside of the Kingdom of God which the Holy Spirit Himself used in the preaching of John to the people who were outside of that Kingdom [Luke 3:7]. So, Luke, following John's lead, determined to set the issue before Theophilus at the very beginning. The issue is this: God absolutely refuses to have anything positive to do with rebellious, self-centered people [1 Samuel 15:23]. After this record, Luke never mentions "Nazareth" again. Jesus was "finished" with that place and the people who lived there.
For what cause? I am going to call it "the Nazareth issue."
August 6, 2006
- I. The "Nazareth" Issue.
- A. Facts about "Nazareth".
- 1. It was the place in Galilee to which God had "consigned" the "regnal heir" of the throne of David because of "rebellion" [Note Jeremiah 22:21-30].
- a. Was Joseph a "bad guy"? [Note Matthew 1:19].
- b. Did Joseph's "faith" reverse God's decision?
- c. Bottom line: God had "dismissed" the regnal line in spite of His promise to David and the fact that such a dismissal would wreak havoc with the minds of men who think that they can abuse the promises of God with impunity.
- 1) Rebellion stinks in the nostrils of God so much that He will do whatever He has to do to keep rebels out of His final Kingdom.
- 2) There is no "safety" in promises of "eternal security" to men who decide that they can use them to sin against God and men.
- 2. It was a place which had a "reputation" for being incapable of producing anything "good" [Note John 1:46].
- 3. It was a place which had a name that was connected to the idea of being treated dismissively.
- a. When Matthew recorded the fact that "Nazareth" was to be the place where Jesus spent His pre-ministry life, he claimed that it was "so that" the word through the prophets could be fulfilled (Matthew 2:23).
- 1) This claim has created all kinds of "problems" for some people in that there is no known prophetic text which says "He shall be called a Nazarene."
- 2) The claim, however, rested, not upon a "quote", but a "fact".
- b. When Luke presented the particular text that Jesus "read" in the synagogue, he pointed Theophilus to Isaiah 61:1 and its context.
- 1) That context has a definite "prologue" in which a "Netzer" is identified and is characterized as "dismissive".
- 2) When we look into the "Netzer" concept, one of the primary contexts is Isaiah 11:1-2.
- 3) When we consider the "Netzer" concept in its outworking, both David and Jesus were "dismissed" by those who thought highly of themselves.
- c. Thus, the conclusion is this: to be a "Nazarene" was to be one who was considered to be worthless and incapable.