Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
Thesis: The purpose of "authority" is to "enforce" the Unity of the House.
Introduction: In Luke 4:32 we are told that the religious people in Capernaum were "amazed" at what Jesus taught. In Mark 3:25 we are told one of the key truths which Jesus taught when "crunch time" came. Mark 3 is the record of the only options available to us when dealing with the question of what we are to believe about Jesus. The "bracket" decision (the one that is put forward both at the beginning and at the end) is that of the "disciples" and of the "true mother and brethren". The "intermediate bracket" decision (the one introduced by His "friends" in 3:21 and then further explained in 3:31-33) is that of the family and close friends. And the "core" decision (the one within both "brackets") is that of the officious (thriving on "authority") religious establishment in 3:22-30. "Crunch time" is that time when a person has to make up his mind. Jesus' statement in Mark 3:25 is that, when "crunch time" comes, one needs to make the decision that has the ability to sustain the "house" rather than the one that will destroy the "house". What Jesus was teaching was "cosmic" -- His "truth" was going to make a very large impact upon the entire creation of God. And, in Luke 4:31-37 we are told that the people were both "astonished" and "amazed" by Jesus' "truth".
This morning we are going to attempt to understand this "reaction". To do so, we are going to look into the description of the two "reactions" that our text reveals. One arises within the people in the synagogue and the other arises from a demon in that synagogue. We shall see that the two have their roots in the same soil.
October 29, 2006
- I. The Description of the Reaction of the People.
- A. At the top of the record we are told that the people were "astonished" (AV -- in this case, a better translation than the NASB).
- 1. The NASB translators made no distinction between 4:32 and 4:36.
- 2. The Authorized Version translators made the distinction.
- 3. A careful consideration of both the paragraph and the way "astonishment" is used in the rest of the New Testament reveals what "astonishment" is.
- a. Of the 13 times people are "astonished" in the New Testament, 11 times we are directly told that it arises when "doctrine" is at stake.
- b. In several of the 11 instances when "doctrine" is at stake, the people are described as having a very difficult -- if not impossible -- time of getting a grip on what is being set forth as "the truth" (see Matthew 19:25 as an example).
- 4. Our text tells us that the reason the people were "astonished" is not so much what they heard (which was enormously contradictory to what they had learned) but that the teaching was "authoritative".
- 5. Because we are told this was the "reaction" in 4:32 before the record of the reaction of the demoniac we know that the "authority" was not initially rooted in the exorcism.
- 6. This means that Jesus was teaching a given "truth-orientation" that not only directly contradicted what the synagogue stood for, but also came across as indisputably true.
- B. At the bottom of the record we are told that the people were "amazed".
- 1. The word used here is relatively rare in the New Testament (used only 3 times -- all by Luke in Luke/Acts) and it signals the reaction of a person when he experiences something far beyond the "norm" -- i.e., he does not have any real trouble getting a grip, but he is deeply impressed by the huge "abnormality".
- 2. The text tells us that the people were amazed because the demon was very obviously compelled to obey.
- a. This has to mean that "exorcisms" were not "common".
- b. This is a "combination" reaction in that the people know the content of His message is contradictory to their "faith" -- but it has "authority" -- and that the demons are actually subject to the Messenger.
- C. The Point: the Issue is "Authority".
- II. The Description of the Reaction of the Demoniac.
- A. The demoniac is deliberately described in terms that "bounce" off of Luke's description of Jesus.
- 1. Jesus, Luke says, was "filled with" the Dove-Spirit.
- 2. The demoniac, Luke says, possessed a "spirit of an unclean demon".
- B. The demoniac was both known and comfortable in the synagogue setting before Jesus teaches.
- C. The demoniac erupts with a loud voice when Jesus teaches His "authoritative truth".
- 1. He does not deny Jesus' truth.
- 2. He actually acknowledges Jesus' truth and its authority.
- D. The Point: there is no question in anyone's mind -- human or demonic -- that what Jesus is saying is authoritative truth.
- III. The Problem in Capernaum.
- A. The "bottom line" for everyone there is the same: "authority".
- B. The "issues" in authority are opposites in the "houses".
- 1. There is the "united" house in which "authority" flows from the character of the "Head".
- a. This "house" is founded upon the reality that Omniscience is superior to Ignorance and Creators are superior to the Created.
- b. This "house" experiences the cooperative effort of the members toward an embraced objective that has its roots in omniscient wisdom.
- c. Authority in this house is exercised to establish the objective by way of persuasion and elimination.
- 1) Omniscience stoops to the ignorant and shares His wisdom so that the ignorant become wise.
- 2) Omnipotence relegates the arrogant, who consider themselves in no need of Omniscience, to a separate "universe".
- 2. There is the "divided" house in which "authority" is a matter of competition between the "members" which all strive to be able to set the agenda.
- a. This "house" is founded upon the claim that every "person" ought to be able to exercise an unbounded ("free") will in the pursuit of whatever the "person" wants while the reality is that each person only believes that such should be the case for "me".
- b. This "house" experiences the competitive efforts of all of its members in the pursuit of each individual's objectives.
- c. Authority in this house is exercised by way of bribery, coercion, and elimination.
- C. The "demonic house".
- 1. A clear recognition that "we have nothing in common."
- a. You are "the Holy One of God."
- 1) This is a recognition of the "unity" thesis that argues that opposites are to be held in perfect balance so there is no conflict.
- 2) This is a recognition that the "unity" thesis actually consists of a major portion of self-denial.
- b. We are on the other side of the fence.
- 1) We do not value "unity".
- 2) We will not deny ourselves.
- 2. A clear fear that "destruction" is a real possibility.
- a. This is the bottom line in the procedure of the demonic house: all are "destroyed" who refuse to yield to the one(s) with the power to enforce their agenda.
- b. So, it is automatic to the demonic thinking process that those who have set themselves in opposition to the "powers that be" will be eliminated.
- D. The "united house".
- 1. A clear recognition that "power" must be utilized to protect the "sharing life by edification" process whenever that process is threatened.
- 2. A clear recognition that "authority" will lead to the destruction of the wicked because there is no other option.