Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 8
Thesis: The bedrock of Luke's perspective of Jesus is that He is the only hope for men.
Introduction: We have made much, lately, of the use of Isaiah by Luke at the outset of his record of the works and teachings of Jesus. It has been our argument that Luke intended to present Jesus as the Second Adam Whose ultimate impact upon those who "see" Him properly in that light is the restoration of them to "Life". Last week we made the argument that the beginning of the methodology of restoration is the compulsion of attention -- the drawing of men's eyes to Jesus. However, as we made mention last week, even though Life can result from turning one's eyes to Jesus, it does not automatically do so because the "setting" of this claim is the rejection of Life by those whose eyes had seen the most of Jesus -- the Nazarenes who had rubbed shoulders with Jesus for thirty years without ever "seeing" the Truth.
In the light of that fact -- though we made much of the claim that the blind can see if they turn their sightless eyes to Jesus -- we need to see what it is that the text before us adds to our understanding of the methodology of the restoration of sight to the blind. In this text we are told that there is something else involved: the ears.
September 17, 2006
- I. Luke's Record of Jesus' Teaching.
- A. Luke's first word in turning our attention toward Jesus' teaching is a word that deliberately presents an on-going process.
- 1. There is no "magic pill" that can give Life to fallen men in one easy swallow.
- a. There is that in man that makes him impatient with anything that requires of him that he "focus" his life and "endure" frustration and hardship over the long haul.
- 1) His "T"heology is of a "God" Who can do anything instantly and should do all that he wants now...and if He refuses, He is de-throned as God.
- 2) His "Lifeology" is that joy arises primarily from getting his way, and getting it as close to instantly as possible.
- 3) So he is angrily impatient every time he is denied his wishes and summoned to make a long-term focus-commitment that assumes the need for endurance in the face of multiple frustrations and hardships.
- b. There is that in Jesus that is willing to give Life to fallen men, but that willingness is tempered by the realities involved in producing an effective and long-term Kingdom of Righteousness.
- 2. What Jesus "began" to say was not going to be "finished" for a long time.
- a. What Jesus said was only one short sentence.
- b. But what that sentence means encompasses the entirety of Time.
- B. Luke's third word in turning our attention toward Jesus' teaching is a word that emphasizes the immutable, enduring, comprehensiveness of Truth as the undergirding of Life and which, if rejected, will plunge men into a Death that is immutable, enduring, and comprehensive.
- 1. There is that in man that tells him that he is free to "select" his "data" so that he can define himself, his experiences, and his "life" to suit himself.
- 2. But there is that in Jesus which is exclusive and immutable and it eliminates any "freedom" to "juggle the data" to suit oneself. [If there was ever a time and situation in which there was "freedom" to "juggle the data", God would have exercised it at Calvary.]
- II. Jesus' "Never-ending Sentence".
- A. Focuses upon the present.
- 1. There is a reason for the biblical imperative for operating in the "Now".
- a. The word "Today" shows up three times (in Hebrews 3:7; 3:15; and 4:7) in a context in which the people of God are warned that "hardness" by reason of the deceitfulness of sin is a very real probability (Hebrews 3:13).
- b. There is also this "fact": the difference between "Law" and "Grace" is that "Law" demands that we do everything and forget nothing and "Grace" provides the Spirit to empower us and to guide us in the moment so that what is done is both proper and timely.
- 2. There is a critical context for this focus.
- a. The Nazarenes had a habitual pattern of rejecting Truth and reinforcing their faith in error while rubbing shoulders with Jesus.
- b. When Jesus came on this day to their synagogue, it was to give them a more or less final opportunity to repent by confronting their blindness head-on.
- c. They, being so habitually resistant to the notion that they were blind, reacted according to the incremental hardness that had been developing all their lifetime.
- B. Focuses upon three most fundamental issues.
- 1. The first fundamental issue has to do with "Scripture".
- a. At least part of the rationale for the existence of "Scripture" is established by Isaiah in multiple places in which he addresses the critical question of how one knows that the "god" he serves is the true God.
- 1) In Isaiah 41:22-23; 42:8-9; 44:7-8, 13-18; and 45:21, Isaiah argues that God can be separated out from the gods so that no thinking person can miss His identity and no person, thinking or not, can escape the impact of his "decision" about "God".
- a) God makes Himself known.
- b) God holds men accountable for His revelation.
- 2) This is precisely what was going on in Nazareth on this day.
- a) The Nazarenes had been deluded into worshipping a false god for all their lifetime: the "god" of "life by status in the eyes of men."
- b) Jesus came into their synagogue to confront this "god".
- b. The "Scripture" that Jesus addressed had to do with the true God's willingness to bring true goodness into the lives of men.
- 1) Both the "Gospel" and the "Acceptable Year" are messages of goodness.
- 2) The "hearers" of both of these parts of the message are identified as the "poor", the "prisoners of the spear", the "blind", and the "downtrodden": thus, no one was qualified to receive the goodness who refused to see himself/herself as such.
- a) Note Luke 5:31 in its context: Jesus excludes those who will not see themselves within those categories.
- b) The Nazarenes had been resisting these identity-tags (lest I should say "self-concepts") all their lives.
- c. These "Scriptures" were "written".
- 1) This means that they can be examined when anyone claims to be explaining them legitimately.
- 2) This means that the Truth is generationally available.
- 2. The second fundamental issue has to do with Scripture that is "fulfilled".
- a. This brings two issues into play.
- 1) First, the "Isaiah principle" comes into play because the question of Who God is comes to the fore when dealing with whether "Life" can come from being a Nazarene.
- 2) Second, the texts can easily be examined to see whether Jesus is using the texts legitimately.
- b. This leaves men without excuse before God.
- 3. The third fundamental issue has to do with the "ears".
- a. At first glance, this seems to be an anomaly: Jesus came to restore "sight" but He focuses here upon "hearing".
- b. However, there is a reasonable explanation.
- 1) First, if someone really is blind, how can you "show" him anything?
- 2) Second, the problem of "blindness" is three-fold according to Luke's record of Paul's use of Isaiah 6:10 in Acts 28:27.
- a) At the "point" of the text are the "eyes".
- b) Just behind that "point" are the "ears".
- c) Fanning out behind the ears is the "heart".
- 3) Third, Jesus is about to address the "heart" problem in Nazareth by capitalizing upon the fact that the people have their "eyes" fastened upon Him and they are listening with their "ears".
- III. The Incredible Danger.
- A. Truth cannot be rejected without disaster riding on the heels of the rejection.
- B. The deceptions of the hardened heart immediately spring into place -- the people immediately begin to ask, "Is not this Joseph's son?"