Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 9
Thesis: We are not dealing with "Joseph's son".
Introduction: As we have considered Luke's record of Jesus' trip to Nazareth over the last several weeks, we have picked up on two major issues. The first of those issues is that Jesus is identified by Luke at the outset of the record of His words and deeds as the One anointed by God to bring sight to the blind. In the context of John 9:39 (in which 9:32 is a major element) Jesus deliberately presented Himself to the nation as the fulfillment of the text that Luke has used in Luke 4:18-19. In that text, He made the claim that He had "come into this world, that they which see not might see..." Luke has set his record of Jesus' confrontation of the blind who live in Nazareth into this major "focus" issue. The second of those issues is the inescapable antagonism of the people in Nazareth and the end of Jesus' patience with them. In the overall context of our studies, we have repeatedly noted that that antagonism is directed at Jesus for one specific reason: He represents a "God" Who will not ultimately tolerate boasting or the wicked mindset that drives it. He will forgive those who have been involved in it if they will "repent", but He will never allow even one person into His Eternal Kingdom who refuses to deal with this issue.
This morning we are going to look further into Luke's record so that we may see the reason for Jesus' "end of patience".
September 24, 2006
- I. First, Some "House Cleaning".
- A. The translation by the NASB is completely misleading.
- 1. That we recognize this is crucial because general impressions arise from the words we read or hear and our understanding is often controlled by those impressions.
- a. As we shall see in this study, there is a vast, ultra-highspeed, mental processing factor that we have been given to enable us to function in this world, that we tend to identify as a "knee-jerk", "automatic", "instinctive" and "split-second" reaction.
- b. The problem is that understanding is very often determined by an "impression" that we do not even consciously identify and that impression dominates our choices.
- 2. The translators of the NASB abandoned the meaning of the text when they told us that the folks in the synagogue "were all speaking well of Jesus" because of what He had said.
- a. In the first place, there is very little likelihood that there was anything verbal going on.
- 1) This is in the synagogue in a rather formal setting.
- 2) The record is of Jesus "beginning" to explain the texts He had chosen to read.
- 3) It is highly unlikely that there was any kind of "intermission" so that the folks could get together and talk about His claim.
- b. In the second place, the word translated "speaking well" does not mean "speaking" nor "well": it means "to bear witness".
- 1) What this means is that, on the heels of Luke's declaration that the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened upon Jesus, everyone was accurately taking in the data so that you could have asked anyone there what Jesus had said and received an accurate response.
- 2) This does not imply any speech or conversation; it only declares that there were no mistakes being made in terms of what the people were hearing from Jesus.
- 3. The translators of the NASB also missed the point of Luke's words when they told us of "the gracious words which were falling from His lips".
- a. The "impression" of "gracious words falling from His lips" is that of a "very welcome" message.
- b. But, the text actually reads, "they were mentally stunned (so as to not understand) by the "words of grace" that were "proceeding out of His mouth."
- 1) Luke intended us to understand, first, that the people did not understand what they were hearing.
- a) This is the root of the meaning of "wondering": it is invariably used by Luke to present something that is completely unexpected and mostly completely beyond one's ability to "plug into reality".
- b) Luke's point is a blend between accurate hearing and a complete inability to grasp the meaning of what they were hearing.
- 2) Secondly, there is a deliberate focus upon the reason they did not understand: the words were about "grace".
- a) Luke, in his record, has capitalized upon the fact that almost no one in Israel had a legitimate understanding of the grace of God.
- i. There was unruly and rude opposition to Elizabeth's attempt to name her son "John".
- ii. The "other" John (Gospel writer) pointedly told us in the introduction to his message about Jesus that Jesus was "full of grace and truth" and the result was that "His own disowned Him".
- b) Luke, in this paragraph, is telling us in story form what John's Gospel says in so many words.
- B. If we allow the translators to mislead us, we will miss the entire point of Luke's record.
- 1. Luke's point is that there is an enormous clash between "grace" and those who are sold out to "self-respect".
- 2. If we miss this point, we will likely miss out on eternal life altogether.
- II. Second, Some Explanation.
- A. It is absolutely not arguable that Jesus' experience in the synagogue was an experience of a long-simmering, extreme hostility.
- 1. It is remarkable to me that people can think that even a mob can go from "fawning over someone because of the gracious words that are falling from His lips" to murder in a matter of minutes.
- 2. Secondly, it is also remarkable to me that people can read Jesus' deliberately harsh words and think that He is giving a legitimate response to people who are caught up in the joy of hearing "gracious words falling from His lips."
- B. It is also not arguable that Jesus fanned the flames of that simmering hostility.
- 1. Jesus' words were deliberately confrontational and harsh.
- 2. Jesus was not pandering to a "home town crowd" that was excited about His "success".
- C. Third, it is beyond likelihood that the reaction -- "Is not this Joseph's son?" -- was the kind of thing that sometimes did happen when people were trying to figure out how Jesus could be Who He obviously was.
- 1. First, how likely is it that Jesus would have deliberately "squashed" the people's legitimate attempts to figure out what was going on?
- 2. Second, does it not seem far more likely that Jesus is confronting the people's readiness to dismiss Him as a liar?
- a. What is this "Is not this Joseph's son?"
- 1) First, it is a total rejection of the Truth.
- 2) Second, it is a deliberate attempt to "put" Jesus in a place that is in direct contradiction to His claim.
- a) Jesus responds to their question with a declaration that "No prophet is welcome in his home town."
- b) Either Jesus was reading them incorrectly, or our translators were.
- b. What was going on in Nazareth is the reason we need a legitimate translation: the people in Nazareth were "intuitively picking up on" a significant danger to their committed intentions.
- 1) Jesus had uttered words that were unmistakably about "grace" -- that much they got.
- 2) But they were inalterably opposed to "grace" -- preferring "Law".
- D. Fourth, what is the problem with "grace"?
- 1. Grace is the direct and immutable adversary of the arrogance of those who are committed to boasting.
- 2. No one is going to be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God who has decided that life consists of being able to boast of one's superiority by accomplishment.