Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
Thesis: "Authority" is balanced by "Patience".
Introduction: In Luke's on-going presentation of Jesus as the Ideal Man, he determined to get the most crucial issues before his reader immediately. So far we have seen that Jesus claimed to be the Servant of God to bring about the blessedness of redemption and that He was forcefully rejected as such by those who knew Him best. The issue in that scenario is: Who is correct? Were the Nazarenes correct in being so fixated upon their own status in the eyes of the world that they could not stand to be criticized? Or was Jesus correct in pointing out the parallelism between Nazareth and Israel in the days of Elijah and Elisha? Everyone has to decide. There is no comfortable fence to sit upon in this issue. Then, in the last couple of weeks we have looked at Jesus' adoption of Capernaum as His base of operations and have seen that He deliberately set the "authority" issue before the "religious set" in that city. This is, after all, a most significant "bottom line" kind of issue. Who does have "authority"?
With the "authority" issue before us, it is important that we give some thought to the ways that the alternative kingdoms view and exercise "authority". We have some clear indications of how the kingdom of darkness views authority in our text and we have some clear indications of how the Kingdom of Light views and uses authority. So, this morning, we are going to consider "authority". What is God's view of "authority" and what is the devil's view?
November 5, 2006
- I. The First Indication.
- A. Our text tells us that Jesus' "approach" to the "authority" issue was "teaching".
- 1. This means that the Kingdom of Light is committed to the twin principles of "understanding" and "persuasion" in the matter of getting human beings to enter into it.
- a. This is not "redemption by education" without the Spirit.
- b. This is "redemption by the Spirit through education".
- c. There are no indicators anywhere in Scripture that the Holy Spirit bypasses human understanding in His production of the Life of God in God's people.
- d. There is no rationale for Jesus to "teach" if "teaching" is not a most fundamental part of His task.
- 2. This argues for the reality that no kingdom can endure when both misunderstanding and unbelief are present: conflict is inevitable where there is unbelief and unbelief is heavily dependent upon misunderstanding for its existence.
- 3. So Jesus was practicing a very fundamental principle of the Kingdom of Light by His teaching.
- B. Our text tells us that it was the demon who forced the "confrontation", not Jesus.
- 1. Jesus could have both identified and eliminated any and all "demonic" forces at the beginning -- before He settled into His "teaching" mode.
- a. IF He had done this, it would have indicated a priority upon "authority" that superseded both "learning" and "faith".
- b. Since He did not do this, there is an indisputable "tolerance" in Jesus' methodology that hints at the "holiness" of "authority" and "patience" [Note Peter's cautionary explanation in 2 Peter 3:9].
- 1) Remember that "holiness" is the "balance" that exists between the attributes which, if unbalanced, would typically run to the extreme.
- 2) "Authority" without "patience" is demonic.
- 2. The demoniac reveals this reality by his loud, interrupting, opposition.
- II. The Second Indication.
- A. The demon's first statement reveals a "grab and hold" mentality where patience extends privilege.
- 1. The very fact that the demon clearly declares the absence of harmony between himself and Jesus of Nazareth indicates that the demon thinks he has a "right" that is really only the result of the long-suffering extension of privilege.
- a. Since when does a created being have a "right" to oppose his Creator? [Since the world began, everyone in it has recognized that "potters" have a "right" over their clay and the clay has no "rights" whatsoever.]
- b. How can any created being clearly declare the absence of harmony between himself and the one he knows is "The Holy One of God" and still insist upon having "space" to pursue its destructive course?
- 2. That the demon has clearly turned privilege into prerogative indicates a "grab and hold" mindset.
- B. The demon's first statement also indisputably reveals his grasp of Jesus' identity as the Nazarene.
- 1. Jesus' identity as the Nazarene is His identity as the One Who was not overly concerned with "status" in the eyes of "creatures".
- a. The "Nazarenes" were those considered by others to be of no value.
- b. Jesus was the only One Who was not bothered by that.
- 2. The demon, whose entire definition of "life" is wrapped up in these "status" issues, is incapable of not attempting to use them to oppose Jesus.
- a. He deliberately cast the "of Nazareth" characteristic into Jesus' face.
- b. He was hoping it would have the same impact upon Jesus that it had on him.
- C. This means that it is fundamental to the distinction between the kingdoms that "glory" in the eyes of creatures is viewed in opposite ways.
- 1. The Kingdom of Light views glory in the eyes of creatures as a way for them to "live".
- 2. The kingdom of darkness views glory in the eyes of creatures as a way for "me" to live.
- III. The Third Indication.
- A. The demon's question reveals his perception of the "proper" use of "authority".
- 1. "Authority" in the dark kingdom is grabbed and held as a "right".
- 2. Then it is exercised to block opposition.
- 3. Destroying the opposition is fundamental to the dark kingdom's mentality.
- B. The demon's question implies that he expects that Jesus operates on the same "level".
- 1. This is fundamentally "stupid": if Jesus operated on the same level, He clearly would have no patience with loud-mouthed demons in the synagogues and would have eliminated them at the get-go.
- 2. This reveals just how badly twisted the dark kingdom is: it depends upon the patience of the more powerful while exercising no patience whatsoever.
- C. Jesus' use of "authority" is first found in His "teaching" [which indicates His commitment to giving creatures the opportunity to understand and believe] and is then found in His restraint in not destroying the demons -- yet.
- IV. The Fourth Indication.
- A. The demon claimed he "knew" who Jesus was.
- B. He made the identification of Jesus to be the "Holy One of God".
- 1. The demon clearly has no "love" for "holiness".
- 2. This means that the demonic kingdom has jettisoned the issues of balance in tension in favor of exalting a single "bottom line".
- a. The bottom line of the demonic kingdom is "life" by means of status in the eyes of all others.
- b. Every "attribute" which does not produce this is forced under the dominion of those which do.
- 3. This means that there is a basic distinction between the kingdoms: one is committed to "Life" for others by generating understanding and faith in them so that they can engage in that "Life"; and the other is committed to "Life" for "Me" by trampling understanding and faith into the ground in favor of pure force.
- V. The Point: The Proper Use of Authority is to Establish and Maintain the Opportunity for Life for Others.