Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
Thesis: Strength of conviction must be the foundation for choices if one wishes to live.
Introduction: It is often said that "Everyone has his price." This is a cynical proverb that means that there is no one around who functions by true love for the True God. It generally means that the true "god" in the hearts of human beings is money -- that if a person is offered enough money, he will do anything, no matter how evil. But it occasionally "morphs" into the hidden issues that are hidden behind the "money". Sometimes the statement, "Everyone has his price", means that anyone can be forced to do anything -- no matter how evil -- if their true love can be discovered and threatened, or if they are promised fulfillment of their deepest longing by means of the evil.
That the proverb exists is a testimony to an abundance of evidence that seems to support it. The text before us this morning is part of that evidence. It reveals both how far people are willing to go to improve the quality of their experience as well as how little they are willing to do to improve the quality of their experience.
There is a lesson in our text...in fact, there are many lessons in our text. But, for this morning, we are going to focus upon just one: the lesson we can learn from waiting until sundown to take our sorry experiences to Jesus.
December 3, 2006
- I. The Text in Its Context.
- A. The immediate context is the sorry experiences of man that arise from demons and diseases.
- 1. The record is bracketed between healings and exorcisms.
- 2. The "brackets" are representations of two huge realms that have the ability to make man's experience "sorry".
- a. The "demons" are representations of that realm of man's experiences which is determined by the choices and actions of others.
- 1) There are a "zillion" things which men must experience simply because there are others in his cause-and-effect universe over whom he has no control.
- 2) The demons are simply the highest level of "powers" in man's universe who are committed to making his experience "sorry".
- b. The "diseases" are representations of that realm of man's experiences which is determined by one's own choices and actions.
- 1) One must remember that "Capernaum" is situated in Israel, a nation which had been given Exodus 15:26 and Deuteronomy 7:15 as a part of a covenant between the highest and only God and this nation.
- 2) In this setting, diseases are a testimony to the failure of people to walk uprightly.
- 3) This is true even in the light of John 9.
- a) The disciples' question was straight out of the Exodus/Deuteronomy commitment by God.
- b) Jesus' answer cannot mean either of two things: that the parents and the man were both "sinless"; that the man's condition was not sin-related.
- c) Jesus' answer has to be understood in light of "circles within circles" -- i.e., there are "reasons for things" and then there are "reasons for things".
- i. The disciples were working at a level of superficiality that was not going to solve anything. What possible good could a superficial answer to their question produce?
- ii. Jesus was not interested in permitting that level of superficiality to survive in their hearts and minds.
- iii. His denial of a "cause/effect" reality at the level of "personal responsibility" was not intended to be "absolute", but was, rather, intended to address the disciples' blame-game mentality rather than His sin-solution mentality.
- 3. The "brackets" were designed to reveal Jesus' ability and willingness to address these two realms with redemption.
- a. In neither of the "brackets" is there any focus upon any sense of "worthiness" in those who became the foundations for the illustration of God's willingness to redeem.
- b. In neither of the "brackets" is there any focus upon any sense of "lasting salvation" in those who had been used by God to illustrate His willingness to redeem.
- c. All that the events clearly declare is that Jesus is both capable and willing in respect to the issues of man's "sorry" experiences.
- 4. These "brackets" are preliminary issues; an introduction into the truth about God as the God of all Grace.
- B. The larger context is the "teaching" of Jesus in light of His forerunner's main thesis.
- 1. The issues of how the God of all Grace is going to go about addressing the sorry experiences of men are complex and require "teaching" so that people do not go from the introduction to a half-cocked conclusion.
- 2. The forerunner's thesis is that mankind is enormously corrupt: the "solution" is not going to be "simple" or "instantaneous".
- II. The Text Itself.
- A. "Houston, we have a problem...".
- B. The text declares that the people waited to come to Jesus until the sun was sinking into dusk.
- 1. This means one basic thing: a shift had transpired.
- a. On the one hand, the "sabbath" was over.
- b. On the other hand, the first day of the week had begun.
- 2. But, this one basic thing signaled something terrible.
- a. That the people waited to come until the sabbath was over meant that they were loyal legalists -- i.e., they were willing to externally conform to the "rules" to some degree.
- b. That the people came to One Who had already broken their "rules" meant that they were loyal legalists -- i.e., they did not care about the "rules" as much as they cared about getting what they wanted in spite of them.
- 1) Jesus had already "broken" their rules.
- a) In the light of Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 13:10-17, this was no "small" matter.
- b) In the light of Jesus' actions, the people were faced with the possibility that He was a dangerous heretic (John 7:12).
- c) This is not something that should be swept under the rug.
- 2) The people simply flocked to the "perks" Jesus had shown He could provide.
- a) Here is the reason for the proverb, "Everyone has his price."
- b) When push came to shove, the sabbath would be "kept" but "a better life" would not be sacrificed over "convictions."
- c) In effect, the text tells us that if the people had been in the wilderness tempted by the devil, they would have sold out in a heart-beat.
- III. The Text's Implications for Us.
- A. The record sets something profound before us.
- B. The record asks us this question: do you have a "selling-out price"?
- 1. Are we willing to operate by conviction even if we will not get what we want very much?
- 2. Are we willing to accept the limitations of "learning" -- that we not act until we can act in loving faithfulness?
- a. 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 both insist that the God of all Grace operates at the conscience level.
- b. When we are willing to "keep the rules" but go after the objective anyway, we are in serious trouble [where were all of these "healed" people later???].