Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
August 20, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<272> Thesis: Hostility corrupts reality no matter how much the "humble" wish for peace. Introduction: In our studies so far we have majored on the fact that Luke deliberately introduced the ministry of Jesus in glowing terms of "acceptance" and then immediately turned around and opened the can of "Nazarene" worms. Jesus was operating in the power of the Spirit and was very well received in the synagogues of Galilee, but when He came to the synagogue of Nazareth, the result was the first recorded attempt by others to kill Him because of His teaching. Because this contrast is what it is, we have followed Luke's lead and attempted to understand what he wanted Theophilus to know. It seems pretty obvious that he wanted him to know that the folks in Nazareth had pretty much had it with Jesus and that the feelings were mutual. There is no way that the facts of this story can be understood properly if we leave out the undercurrents of deep hostility that had to have been present (a crowd cannot get to murderous hostility without a background). That means that Luke wanted Theophilus to understand from the get-go that his "Jesus" is all about a specific kind of "Life" that has no root in the proud hostility of "fake Nazarenes"...synagogue attenders, Sabbath observers, pious frauds. The question is "Why?". Why did Luke want to "taint" Theophilus' "understanding" of Jesus with this negative reality at the get-go? What is it about Luke's Jesus that requires that we go into our study of His ministry with the understanding that the folks "back home" would kill Him if they could? I think that at least part of the answer is revealed by Luke's focus on Jesus' "reading". This morning I wish to push this issue of Jesus' "reading" to see what it yields.