Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
Thesis: Authority is, by design, an instrument of "ministry".
Introduction: There is a sense in these latter days that "salvation" is an "accessory" much like a jacket or sweater that we are to put on so that when we die we can "go to heaven". But, this sense is as far off target as it is possible to get. One could not miss the target any worse if he deliberately aimed 180 degrees away from it. The biblical perspective is that man's reason for existence has been twisted 180 degrees and God has provided a way for him to return to a "life" (and lifestyle) that is, once again, "on target".
As we have addressed the paragraph in Luke 4:31-37, we have seen that Jesus was primarily noted for being One Who exercises final authority. This is the issue of "lifestyle". This is the reason for the rejection of Jesus: the reality that the way one lives is at issue and the question is that of the authority that will govern that "way".
This morning we are going to look into Luke's record of Jesus' activity after He left the synagogue where the authority issue was set forth.
November 26, 2006
- I. At Issue: The Purpose(s) For Jesus' Actions.
- A. Luke has deliberately put a certain focus upon three elements of Jesus' actions.
- 1. First, the "big ticket" issue is "the intense (murderous) personal rejection of Jesus" because of His basic description of humanity as fixated upon selfishness [both the theses, "I want glory" and "ye generation of vipers", indicate the "black hole" mentality of humanity].
- 2. Second, a major "behind the scenes" issue is that of Jesus' "authority" to demand certain behavior of others [this is the "brick wall" into which every self-centered person runs].
- 3. Third, a second major "behind the scenes" issue is the "report" -- the shockwaves that moved from the "events" to the outer boundaries of "personal recognition" [this is a major aspect of the motivation for Luke's entire record -- his record is simply as aspect of this shockwave].
- B. Luke now deliberately puts a spotlight upon another "big ticket" reality: the mother-in-law immediately "ministers" to the "guests".
- 1. Luke is one of three "recorders" of the healing of Simon's "mother-in-law".
- 2. His is the only one of the three that inserts the sense of "immediacy".
- 3. There is an strong implication in this insertion that "ministry" is a high level issue for anyone who receives the benefit of Jesus' "ministry".
- a. Jesus makes this point Himself in Luke's record: Luke 22:26-27.
- b. There is no place in God's Kingdom for "ministry slugs": Luke 18:15-17.
- 1) Those who argue that "salvation is a free gift" so that it remains unattached to the issue of inheritance in the Kingdom of God so that it can be "received" without the follow-through that is inextricably attached to being "born again" are deceived.
- a) Paul, the minister of grace, declared that "receiving the grace of God in truth" always "brings forth fruit" (Colossians 1:6) and that those who "profess" to know God but remain disobedient are "reprobate" (Titus 1:16).
- b) Jude claims that those who claim that "grace" is a divine provision that is made so that a person can refuse its impact beyond the ticket to heaven it brings with it are deluded false teachers who are going to perish forever (Jude 4).
- 2) The Gospel proclaims that our justification is rooted in Jesus' works alone, but it never proclaims that our justification is alone.
- a) The issue is never "works-specific" so that our "salvation" depends upon our "doing" any specific "work".
- b) But the issue has always been that the "new heart" reality of salvation inescapably produces a new life that makes itself manifest.
- C. Luke's method of making his point.
- 1. First, he parallels Jesus' actions with the "healed" mother-in-law's actions.
- a. He uses a unique phrase at the beginning of his record (Jesus, having arisen...) and at the end (and immediately she, having arisen...).
- b. He sets both Jesus and the mother-in-law into "need" situations so that "need met leads to need meeting" [Jesus met the woman's need out of His abundance and the woman, as soon as she participated in His abundance began to meet needs].
- 2. Second, he parallels the synagogue event with the house event.
- a. He uses the same terminology to describe the demoniac and the mother-in-law.
- b. He uses the same terminology to describe Jesus' "rebuke" of the demon and the fever.
- c. He, thus, maintains the issue of Jesus' "authority" and brings to the exercise of it a statement of "purpose".
- 1) Jesus did not deliver the demoniac to no end.
- 2) Jesus did not deliver the mother-in-law to no end.
- 3. Third, he sets the situation in "Simon's house".
- a. There is no previous introduction to "Simon" and there is a deliberate refusal to call him "Peter" at this point.
- b. "Simon" is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament "Simeon" who came by his name as a consequence of some seriously misguided "T"heology (that "Life" comes from being loved by a man in the stead of God -- this is the Nazarene blunder).
- c. It was into this "T"heological mess that Jesus came to "minister" to a "mother-in-law".
- 4. Fourth, he deliberately intensifies the "authority" thesis.
- a. The other records tell us of Jesus' "touch".
- b. This record tells us that He stood over her and rebuked the "high" fever.
- 5. Fifth, he introduces a new "T"heological orientation that is profound beyond measure in terms of the way men have misunderstood God throughout history: the mother-in-law acts exactly like Jesus said He does.