Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
Thesis: Jonah and Nahum are ultimately the "truth" of Jesus.
Introduction: This morning we are going to begin a study of a new paragraph in Luke's record. It is his account of Jesus' move from Nazareth to Capernaum. I have made the claim that Luke told us about the events in Nazareth to set the central idea of Jesus' ministry before us. Jesus claimed He had been sent to give sight to the blind as the central methodological activity for the fulfillment of the promises of salvation. Luke told us that this claim was soundly rejected by those who had "seen" Jesus for 30 years and that Jesus walked away from them in the midst of their "blind" rage. Encapsulated within that record is the revelation of the most serious cause of man's "blindness": his tenacious commitment to being acceptable to others because of who he is and what he can do. The tenacity of this commitment is revealed by the wholesale perversion of the Law of God as it was twisted to serve this commitment.
Now we have the next actual "ministry" story. It is the beginning of Luke's presentation of the central issue: Who has the "authority" to determine "Life's" character and means for creatures?
October 22, 2006
- I. The Focal Issue.
- A. For Luke, everything eventually comes down to "teaching".
- 1. In his introduction to Acts, he zeroes in on "doing" and "teaching".
- 2. In his introduction to Jesus' actual ministry, he claims He was "teaching" them (4:15).
- 3. In this paragraph, the entire focus is upon the fact that Jesus "taught" and the reaction that people had to His "doctrine."
- B. This is a logically impossible position to unseat.
- 1. No one can posit a "position" without setting forth a "teaching point."
- 2. No one can deny the importance of "teaching" without "teaching" -- a logical impossibility.
- C. But, for all of its logical necessity, there is an issue beneath the issue of "teaching".
- 1. Teaching is a mechanism to transfer knowledge from one brain to another.
- 2. The content of that "knowledge" is the critical issue.
- a. Almost everything in the world is "mechanical" in the sense that almost everything in the world has a place in the processes of Life.
- b. Even the definition of Eternal Life is given by Jesus in "mechanism" terms: John 17:3 is not an "essential" definition, but a "mechanical" definition (It does not tell us what "Life" is, but how we get it.)
- c. Since everything has its place in the processes, there are few, if any, places in the processes that are "unimportant".
- 1) When information is passed from one person to another that does not have any understood mechanical contribution to Life, it is a waste of time and "Life".
- 2) But, when information is passed with the result that the "learner" embraces it and begins to act on it, it is of the most critical necessity that the information be true or disaster awaits down on the corner.
- D. And, with content as the Life-or-Death, critical issue, there is one further issue that must be considered.
- 1. Beneath the issue of the "what" is the "Who".
- 2. There must be an answer to the question of "Who has the final authority over Life?"
- 3. Luke, for this reason, zeroed in on the "authority" issue.
- a. He did this first by revealing that the major result of Jesus' sabbath-days-teaching efforts was the "boggled minds" of His audience about authority.
- 1) This means two things.
- a) It means that they had never heard His "doctrine" presented with any credibility.
- b) It means that they had been "taught" what He considered to be disastrous methodologies.
- 2) This rests upon his thesis: blind men are shocked when they receive the ability to see, and Jesus had been sent to give sight to the blind.
- b. He did this second by revealing that the issue in the minds of the audience was the fact that He had a discernible and undeniable "authority" in His doctrine.
- 4. By so doing, he forces his reader(s) to answer the question: "Who has the final authority over Life?".
- II. The Underlying "T"heology.
- A. When Jesus was baptized, the "visual" was of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove (in distinction from the "visual" in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost).
- 1. When we considered this, we made the point that the "dove" had its background in the book of the dove, Jonah.
- 2. The point seems to be that the "spirit" that determined Jesus' ministry was to be understood to have the characteristic that was the point of Jonah.
- 3. Jonah is a record of the compassionate interest of Yahweh in saving people who deserve to be sent straight to Hell.
- B. Now Luke tells us that Jesus made His "home base" the city of Capernaum.
- 1. Capernaum means "the village of Nahum".
- 2. Nahum means "comfort".
- 3. Capernaum was, therefore, the village of the Comforter (Jesus' "another Comforter" comment in John's Gospel makes this a crucial truth).
- 4. Nahum was, like Jonah, a prophet to Nineveh.
- a. His message was of the destruction of the city.
- b. This message was of "comfort" to Judah, but it certainly was not comfortable for the Ninevites.
- C. Luke later tells us that Capernaum was one of the cities which Jesus consigned to the deeper regions of Hell because it, like Nazareth, rejected Him in spite of extensive exposure (Luke 10:15 -- which has the same context of "authority" as our current text).
- D. The Point...
- 1. Jesus is the fulfillment of both Jonah and Nahum.
- 2. Jesus is compassionate and full of wrath.
- 3. This is a microcosm of the First and Second Comings of Jesus.
- III. The Lesson We Need to "Get".
- A. Jesus' "authority" is non-negotiable.
- B. "Comfort" can be twisted into a basis for a rather casual rejection of the Comforter.
- 1. The village of the Comforter can become the village of the comforted -- if the "authority" issue is legitimately resolved.
- 2. But, the village of the Comforter can also become the village of the comfortable -- if the issue of "comfort" is allowed to displace Jesus in the "authority" issue.
- C. Jesus' authority is for "Life", not "comfort".