Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
April 15, 2007
17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
1901 ASV Translation:
17 And it came to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
- I. The Overall Issue of This Paragraph.
- A. Jesus was teaching.
- 1. Luke uses several accounts of "conflict" in Luke 5:17-6:11 to give substance to the problem(s) the religious establishment had with Jesus.
- 2. He focused upon the fact that Jesus was "teaching" by telling us that fact both in the initial account (5:17-26) and the final account (6:6-11).
- 3. He intensified our understanding of the principle issue -- the "doctrine" -- by also telling us in this first account that the "teachers of the law" were in attendance from every village in Galilee, Judaea, and Jerusalem.
- B. The major leaders of Israel were in attendance.
- 1. The Pharisees were there.
- 2. The "Law-teachers" were there. The word used here is only found three times in the entire New Testament (with all of the references being "negative" -- not promoting a desireable sense in context) and Luke clearly used it to emphasize this fact: the meaning of divine revelation is the "mental" bottom line in all things. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says the word is "not found in secular Greek" and can only surface one single instance of recorded use outside of the New Testament.
- a. It must be maintained, however, (as in the conclusion below -- I. a. b. and c.) that the mental bottom line is not the final bottom line.
- 1) Things "mental" have to do with rationality and logic as a process for the purpose of problem-solving. In other words, people "think" because they wish to figure out how to act.
- 2) But, below the "need to act" is the real bottom line: what is at stake? Why act at all unless there is something of "value" at stake? The point: love (the establishment of what is valuable) is the real bottom line. Thinking serves love, not vice-versa.
- b. The "problem" with "mental" bottom lines is that the breakdown of logic is both underwritten and inevitable when the "final" bottom line is skewed. It is impossible to think clearly when a lie sits at the roots of the process.
- C. The power to heal was His.
- 1. It is this issue that addresses Jesus' "bottom line". Healing is a means to an end. The end is the "Life" the Creator intended and the proper function of the physical aspect of a man is given so that he may be and do all that the Creator intended for his "Life".
- a. Acts 10:38 is an opening element in a sermon which Peter preached in the home of Cornelius, the Gentile. This was the initiation of "Gentiles" into the "Church" by the baptism by the Holy Spirit and, as such, is a critical "message". His description of Jesus is, therefore, crucial. That description is, in part, contained in Peter's words that "Jesus of Nazareth...went about doing good, and healing...". As a succinct summary of Jesus' "actions", it stands out. Peter summarizes all of the pre-crucifixion life of Jesus under this one description. That Peter went on to say that "...everyone that believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins" pulls the very issues of our current text into the apostolic message. The two issues in our text are "healing" and Jesus' declaration that the faith of the man had resulted in the "forgiveness of sins".
- b. John 8:46 records Jesus' critical question regarding the willingness of His opponents to attempt character assassination. He, in effect, threw down the gauntlet and put the adversaries on the defensive. Earlier, John 7:12 recorded the split opinion of the general populace. At issue is this one thing: how are we to understand Jesus' "actions" as a basis for our "beliefs" about Him?
- 2. Any discussion of whether Jesus was legitimately trusted to be the Kinsman/Redeemer must begin with whether Jesus' accomplishments pushed men in the direction of fulfilling their created purpose(s).
- 3. This is, of course, the reason for the "teachers of Law": they decided if a given action could/would result in the needful end.
- D. Jesus saw a demonstration of faith.
- E. Jesus proclaimed forgiveness of sins to the believer.
- F. The major leaders conclude that He is guilty of blasphemy.
- G. Jesus claims His ability to heal proves His ability to forgive sins.
- H. Everyone is "filled with fear".
- I. The conclusion: Luke is recording a, if not the, theological reason the masters of Israel rejected Jesus as God's annointed Deliverer.
- a. This was not the most fundamental reason; it was an excuse cloaked in the garb of "theological accuracy".
- b. There are only two fundamental reasons in the universe for any decision/action: decisions are always made in order to accomplish the objective by some means and decisions are always made because of faith in a means. In other words, "love" sets the agenda and "faith" pursues it. The "love" issue is simple: it seeks "Life" for someone. The "faith" issue is complex: it claims to have a working method for "Life". The claim, however, requires both knowledge and wisdom -- two ingredients absent from the arsenal of man.
- c. "Theology" is, typically, the basis of "faith". If one can determine Who God is and What He is like, one can make legitimate decisions if one is not already over-committed to an ungodly agenda/faith. The problem for men is this: we come into this world already over-committed to a self-focused agenda and very few experiences have the ability to challenge its arguments of "legitimacy". Every time we get our way, we "learn" how we got it and we revel in the "joy" of success, and every time we do not get our way, we "learn" a way to manipulate in order to attempt to minimize the damage. If we succeed, we are reinforced in our "method" and if we fail, we are reinforced in our "reasoning" that we need to "be more careful" so that we do not fail. If I am "blessed" by my action, I am "justified" in taking it. If I am "hurt" by my action, I am "justified" even more in the "legitimacy" of attempting to protect myself. Either way, my self-focus is maintained. So, in effect, neither blessing, nor punishment, has the ability to "correct" my self-focused "center". This is the reason that the essence of the New Covenant was the promise of a new "heart". Unless there is a real replacement of the self-focus, there is no real solution to the Sin problem.