Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
Thesis: The fundamental focus of the ministry of Jesus is to be found in the impact of His actions and words upon the "blind".
Introduction: There is, in the record of Jesus' return to Nazareth, a definitive statement made by Jesus, Himself, that the "point" of His coming to earth was to "restore" sight to the blind. This morning we are going to take our study time to look into Jesus' use of Isaiah and Luke's subsequent use of Jesus' use of Isaiah. In some ways, there is nothing more important to understanding than the proper "context". [Illustrate by Hazel's misunderstanding of my comments about going to look at the church building in Crouse and mention the reason for our "Developing Perspective" series.] This has already been a major focus in our studies in Luke -- particularly the "name him John" thesis -- and, last week, it came out very strongly because the "reading" of the Scriptures is either useful, or dangerous, depending upon one's "theological context".
Therefore, this morning we are going to do some "stage setting" for our future studies in Luke by looking at Luke's record of Jesus' use of Isaiah when He went to the synagogue in Nazareth.
August 27, 2006
- I. The Record is Critical in Its Position.
- A. In the introduction to Jesus' ministry, Luke told us that Jesus was "teaching" in the synagogues of Galilee.
- 1. This is crucial because of the fact that it is always going to be the "teaching" that gives understanding of all else.
- a. Nothing makes sense in a mental vacuum.
- b. All sense arises out of explanation -- the heart and soul of teaching.
- 1) This cannot be refuted, because "refutation" requires "explanation".
- 2) No one can argue without appealing to "facts", which do not exist in a mental vacuum.
- 2. This is crucial because what Jesus teaches is going to control our "relationship with God".
- a. It will control, first of all, our perception of the true character of Jesus.
- b. It will control, second of all, our grasp of the mechanics of the relationship He offers with Himself as it is rooted in what He is like.
- B. Given the introduction as "teaching", what could be more crucial than Jesus' own initial declaration of His purpose for coming?
- 1. Up to this point, what Jesus believes is not a part of the record.
- 2. At this point, Luke records Jesus' appeal to the Scriptures to explain His "ministry".
- II. The Record is Not Straightforward.
- A. Luke recorded only part of what Jesus "read".
- B. Either Luke, or Jesus, made three alterations to the "reading" that have "meaning" significance because of the consequent "structure" issues.
- C. In this "structure", the focus is "generally" upon the "good news to the poor".
- 1. The proclamation of good news is specifically directed to "the poor".
- a. The word translated "the poor" typically means "those without any abundance of resources for "life".
- 1) The context of the word is determinative in giving understanding of the nature of the resources because of the particular nature of the "life" involved.
- a) If the "life" involved" is physical and material, the "resources" involved are going to boil down to "money".
- b) If the "Life" involved is Spiritual, the "resources" involved are going to boil down to "fellowship with God".
- 2) In this context, there are three terms which identify the circumstances of the "poor".
- a) These "poor" are "prisoners" (of the spear)...Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says this word means "a prisoner of war".
- b) These "poor" are "blind".
- c) These "poor" are "those having been beaten" so that they are bruised/broken.
- 3) In this context, Jesus is not preaching in "POW camps", or in any other literal areas of bondage.
- a) Jesus is doing His preaching in synagogues where legalism is rampantly dominant.
- b) Jesus' activities are not aimed directly at "material" issues: even His "miracles" are only "evidences" of His abilities in the raging conflict between the spiritual forces of wickedness.
- b. Thus, in this setting, the preaching of Jesus is "to those without the spiritual resources for "Life".
- 1) The fundamental offer in this preaching is the "forgiveness of sins".
- 2) The fundamental promise in this preaching is the "baptism with the Spirit".
- 2. The proclamation of good news is a proclamation of "the acceptable year of the Lord".
- a. The Net Bible says that this is a phrase which refers to the Year of Jubilee.
- b. If that is true, the focus is upon the "return to the poor" of what they have forfeited in their pursuit of "life".
- D. In this "structure" the focus is specifically upon the proclamation of the return of sight to the blind.
- 1. This raises this question: what does being "poor" have to do with being "blind"?
- 2. This raises this claim: "blindness" is the chief mechanism of the poverty.
- III. The Record Begins With the Presence of the Spirit of the Lord.
- A. The quote out of Isaiah 61:1 begins with the claim that the Spirit of the Lord is "upon Me".
- B. Luke's record, just prior to this context, is a record of the coming of the Spirit of God upon Jesus at His baptism by John.
- C. The significance of this is absolute: the claim allows no "fence sitting".
- 1. If the Spirit of God is the Undergirding Reality, absolute truth is the consequence.
- 2. This is the foundation of the conviction that every word of God is a seed of Life.
- 3. The modern vacillations on specific points of the text of the Bible are understood to be rooted in the lack of willingness to accept the initial claim of the text: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me."
- a. This is the "ultimate" blindness.
- b. This is the reason for the bondage that exists on either side of the blindness.