Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 12
Thesis: Sudden flashes of anger are extremely "telling".
Introduction: We have been in Luke's account of Jesus' trip to Nazareth for a long time. We have argued that Luke wrote this account because it lays a major part of the foundation of his presentation of Jesus as the Kinsman Redeemer. The concept of "kinsman" is that of a "near relative" -- a concept that Luke felt was addressed best by giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary so that we would be sure of His true humanity. The Spirit of God's foresight on this issue proved itself when, after the testimony of Jesus had become widespread, a major heresy arose which claimed that Jesus was not truly human. On the other hand, the concept of "redeemer" presupposes a serious need for redemption. There is no need for Luke to present a "Redeemer" if man is not "sold into sin" (Romans 7:14). The Spirit's foresight on this issue has proven itself also because man's greatest resistance arises on this point. Few things make people angry faster than being accused of wrong doing when they are making every effort to appear to be doing exactly what is right. This is Luke's "point" in these last few verses of his record of Jesus' trip to Nazareth.
This morning it is my intention to examine this issue of "sudden, explosive, anger" as it took place in the synagogue that morning. The most helpful question in the world is "Why?". It forces us deeper into the issue and it compels us to come up with answers we will not have otherwise. However, be warned, it is not a comfortable process. How many times have we become exasperated by the "Dad/Mom, but why?" from our children? Our exasperation may be simply an expression of our lack of willingness to probe an issue until we understand it well enough to explain it to others. Exasperation, though, is just another term for "sudden, explosive, anger".
October 15, 2006
- I. The Setting.
- A. The synagogue.
- 1. This was the "center" of the people's "religion".
- a. This is crucial because "religion" is the center of "life".
- 1) Every son of Adam is "religious".
- 2) The problem is in the "definition": "religious" describes that part of man where his most treasured values are held and his most deeply held methods are maintained.
- 3) Whatever a man treasures the most and believes with the greatest tenacity is his "god" and he "worships" continuously.
- 4) All arises from this continual worship.
- b. This is crucial because all men, being finite and ignorant, need instruction to guide them into the purification of their worship.
- c. The "problem" is that there are only two possible "gods" in any person's world.
- 1) There is the "God" to whom this universe belongs.
- 2) There is the man himself who continuously seeks to bring this universe under his dominion so that it may serve him...for "serving" is what "religion" is all about.
- 2. This was the instrument of "instruction" for the people.
- a. The instruction appeared to be rooted in the Word of God.
- b. But this is where the "rub" came in...the instruction had been highjacked by the spiritual forces of wickedness in high places.
- 1) Luke's spiritual mentor, the apostle Paul, emphatically claimed that our conflict is not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces of wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
- 2) This same man clearly told Timothy that men are deeply inclined to follow "doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1).
- 3) The devil, the self-proclaimed leader of those forces, revealed his tactics in his attempt to derail Jesus in the wilderness.
- 4) The highjacking occurred with one simple twist regarding the "purpose" of the Law.
- a) According to the apostle Paul, God gave the Law to convince men of their bondage to Sin.
- b) According to the highjackers, God gave the Law to provide men with a blueprint of behavior that would be rewarded by God with a place in His Kingdom.
- c. This highjacking was so pervasive that when people from all over the entire Jewish world came out to hear John preach, he told them that they were the offspring of vipers.
- 3. This was the place where the people congregated to reinforce themselves in the rightness of their lives.
- B. The city.
- 1. Every synagogue took on the "flavor" of its geographical setting in its town/village.
- 2. The city of Nazareth was particularly focused upon the definition of "Life" in terms of being able to prove that the opinions of others about them were wrong.
- a. This is nothing, more or less, than the pride of life run amuck.
- b. And, being rooted in pride, there is no life there.
- c. But, try telling a person that his desire to be seen as "right" is "wrong" and see how far you get.
- II. The Rage.
- A. Luke tells us that the entire synagogue "erupted" in hostile anger.
- 1. His picture is likened unto a person who has a very painful boil on his arm who will simply not tolerate anyone jostling it -- accidentally or on purpose.
- a. There is already a simmering undercurrent of anger because of the pain.
- b. All it needs to erupt is for someone to jostle the boil...what is already there is suddenly magnified and explodes.
- 2. The "eruption" is indicative of the level of self-pity involved.
- B. Luke tells us that this "eruption" was caused by Jesus' words to the effect that the people's "religion" was a fraud.
- 1. Jesus was not violent and He made no threats.
- 2. Jesus, in effect, said no more or less than what John had already been preaching: your synagogues have not brought you redemption; they have only reinforced your viper-like approach to life.
- C. The pain involved...
- 1. There is nothing quite like being told over and over that God will give you His Life if you will only "get with the program", and trying to "get with the program" only to discover that God will not give you His Life.
- 2. The boil festers as the infection deepens and the pain becomes consuming.
- D. And the commitment involved...
- 1. When the truth does not matter, we are being told that something else does matter.
- 2. When one erupts because he is being called a fraud, we are being told what the definition of "life" is: being seen as "right" by others.
- 3. When one will not admit the poverty of his experience because it would be "too humiliating", we are being told that the level of commitment is very great.
- III. The Point.
- A. All of our "angers" tell us the truth about ourselves.
- B. The question is this: do I want to know the truth about myself?
- C. Will God accept me if this truth is real?