Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
Thesis: Teaching is, eventually, going to be the "make it or break it" issue of eternal life for every human being in all of history.
Introduction: As we return to our studies in Luke this morning, we are brought, by the flow of Luke's record, to a story that is amazing on multiple counts. That story is recorded in Luke 5:17-26. Just a cursory reading of those verses has the ability to amaze us. First, we are told that Jesus was teaching in a house which was large enough to hold a rather significant number of people. This is important because the record is of some men who tore up the roof of the house to make a hole big enough to lower a man on a "bed" down to Jesus. The house had to have been the home of someone relatively wealthy to be so large and to tear up the roof is no small matter. Second, we are told that every village of Galilee and Judea had a doctrinal representative present. This is phenomenal. It is also important because this means that the entire nation of Israel is now aware of the phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth, the "greater than Moses" Who has come upon the scene. Third we are told that Jesus decided to deliberately make the issue of "forgiveness of sins" the issue for the "theology" of Israel. This also is important because there is no matter of greater importance for humanity than the matter of whether one is forgiven or not. And, fourth, we are told that Jesus rested the issue of whether He was teaching the truth, or not, upon a further demonstration of power.
Thus, we have a remarkable record before us. In the weeks to come, God willing, we are going to look into this account so that we may grow in our understanding of the Truth.
This morning, however, we are going to zero in on Luke's introduction to the event. We are going to see that Jesus deliberately compelled the nation's leaders to face His claim to be God's Kinsman/Redeemer. And we are going to see what that must mean for us.
April 15, 2007
- I. Jesus' Activities.
- A. The translators' choices.
- 1. The text, isolated, seems to force some interesting translations (witness the Comparative Study Bible's translations).
- 2. But, the text, in context seems relatively clear that Luke wished for us to see that Jesus was blending four significant aspects of His "ministry".
- a. Massive crowds were flocking to Jesus for instruction and healing.
- b. He was regularly withdrawing into the available wildernesses.
- c. He was regularly praying -- calling upon God for His input into the circumstances.
- d. He was regularly teaching -- this is Luke's emphatic focus for this paragraph.
- B. The meaning of the activities.
- 1. Luke was pressing his case regarding Jesus.
- a. Jesus had deliberately set a "leprosy" issue, on top of the "John" issue, before the nation so that there was an unmistakable claim being set forth.
- 1) It cannot be an accident that the twin "Moses credentials" were once again being set up as a "credentialing" issue.
- 2) There is no escape from the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was setting forth the claim that He was the one of whom Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 18:15.
- a) Peter, on Pentecost, appealed to this identification of Jesus in Acts 3:22.
- b) Stephen, on the day he was murdered, identified Jesus as the fulfillment of Moses' prophecy in Acts 7:37.
- b. Jesus had attracted a national following of massive proportions.
- c. Jesus was habitually demonstrating a desire to be led of God.
- d. Jesus was detailing the reasons that people ought to accept His claims.
- 2. Luke was acknowledging and emphasizing the necessity for explanation.
- a. Miracles do not automatically make an irrefutable case.
- b. Massive popularity does not, of itself, mean anything.
- c. Prayer can be a pose.
- d. The only thing that can actually "make the case" is clear, detailed explanation.
- 3. Luke was, forever afterwards, condemning every so-called ministry that focused upon anything that left the people with only feel-good foundations for living.
- a. There is a place for proclamation.
- b. There is a place for exhortation.
- c. But there is no substitute for explanation.
- II. Jesus' Audience.
- A. There are two "categories" of persons listed.
- 1. Pharisees.
- a. To understand the point here we must jettison 2,000 years of prejudice and buy into a cultural acceptance of a theological conservatism that exalted obedience to the Word of God.
- b. These were acknowledged men of the Book.
- 2. Teachers of the Law.
- a. This term is relatively obscure -- Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says it is only found once in all secular records that have been preserved through the ages and only three times in the New Testament.
- b. It is used of Gamaliel in Acts 5:34 -- a man of extraordinary reputation for his grasp of the Law.
- c. It is used by Paul in 1 Timothy 1:7 to refer to men who lust after, not just a "following", but the high status of a Gamaliel-like reputation.
- d. These men were going to be the "final authorities" when the question of how to respond to Jesus came up.
- B. There was a very far-reaching declaration given.
- 1. Every village of Galilee was represented.
- 2. Judaea was represented.
- 3. Jerusalem was represented.
- III. Jesus' Final Appeal.
- A. He had been explaining the Scriptures.
- B. Apparently there was some degree of reluctance to accept His explanations.
- C. He resorted to a sub-set of His arguments: healing.
- 1. This was to demonstrate "the power of the Lord".
- 2. It was not the argument, but it was a potent fall-back issue to go along with the teaching.
- a. Actions without explanations are open to any kind of interpretation.
- b. Actions after explanations become an eraser of excuses.