Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
Thesis: Faith is only visible when it runs into contrasting opposition.
Introduction: So far in our studies of Luke's record of Jesus' formal presentation of His credentials to the "officials of Israel", we have seen that He made His case from both Scripture and Miracle. In the setting, it was Jesus' deliberate establishment of a "prophet like unto Moses" thesis that got the attention of the officials. Then, once they were sufficiently involved that they really could not ignore the "Jesus of Nazareth" phenomenon and His "a greater than Moses has come" thesis, Jesus set His case before them.
But, in His presentation of His case, Jesus was unwilling for there to be any outstanding "questions" that were swept under the rug. So, He addressed the issue.
This morning we are going to look at His intentional declaration.
April 29, 2007
- I. Why Was Jesus Pushing the Envelope?
- A. He could have done just as He had been doing.
- 1. In the records thus far, Jesus had established Himself as a "Teacher" (4:14-15).
- 2. In those same records, Jesus had set forth His claim to be God's anointed messenger of "the acceptable year of the Lord" -- i.e., the arrival of the freedom of which "Jubilee" was the "shadowy harbinger".
- a. In this announcement, the focus is upon the "anointed method" -- giving sight to the blind so that those blind could be given their freedom.
- b. In this "announcement setting" Jesus deliberately refused to do any "mighty work" to establish His case because the people were hardened in unbelief.
- 3. In the continuation of those records, Jesus "astonishes" people with His "teaching" by backing it up with "authority".
- a. He commands demonic silence and a cessation of activity.
- b. He instantaneously restores Simon's mother-in-law to perfect health.
- c. He duplicates these twin prongs of evidence many times over that night.
- 4. Then He began accumulating disciples to press His case to the nation.
- 5. Finally, He sent a cleansed leper to Jerusalem to make sure that "official Judaism" was on notice.
- 6. In all of this activity, Jesus is laying the foundations without "stirring the pot" overmuch.
- B. He had to finally make sure that no one was "missing the point".
- 1. In the beginning, when John came on the scene, the "point" was made: the "vipers" were staring down the "gullet" of Eternal Gehenna and were going to be cast into the fires of the Wrath of God unless they found pardon by God.
- 2. Now, having established His claim of being the "greater than Moses", Jesus points to what is at stake: finding pardon by God.
- a. When it is all said and done, when all of the secondary accumulations of religion are swept aside, there is only one issue of importance for men.
- b. When the vapor of this life has been dispersed into the atmosphere of eternity, the only thing of importance to any man will be whether the Eternal God has become his refuge.
- c. When it comes to the question of permission by the Eternal God to enter into His glory, there is only one issue that settles it: Did God grant you forgiveness?
- II. What Was His Claim?
- A. His claim was not what John had announced.
- 1. John had announced that "if you repent, God will forgive you."
- 2. John's announcement was that "the God Who is in heaven" will grant you free pardon if you will come to Him in a fruit-generating repentance (3:3 and 3:8-9).
- B. His claim was that "things" were not going to be "left up to" individual claims of repentance.
- 1. Jesus announced that a generalized concept of a claim of personal repentance before the God of Heaven was not going to cut it, nor was any number of "fruits" going to be the deciding factor.
- 2. Jesus announced that "personal repentance before the God of Heaven" had one basic fruit: the attitude one takes toward Jesus.
- a. Jesus had already rejected the "say so" repentance of Nazareth and let them know what it cost to be a hypocrite about repentance.
- b. Now Jesus is declaring that He has the "final say" about who was going to be "forgiven".
- III. What Was Luke's Claim?
- A. That Jesus "Saw" the Faith.
- 1. What did He see?
- a. Responsible men acting responsibly: intentional pursuit of a solution for their friend.
- b. Responsible men action responsibly: absolutely no confidence in themselves.
- 2. How did He know it was "faith"?
- a. Because "forgiveness" had already had its foundations laid down by John in "repentance" as a "demolishing of pride" and a "confidence of humility".
- b. Both of these factors were easily observable.
- 1) The men would have never pursued their objective over objection if they had any idea that Jesus would turn them down once they got to Him.
- 2) The men were beyond transparent in the reality of their inability.
- B. That Jesus "Announced" the Actual Fact of Forgiveness.
- 1. Jesus took the "issue" out of the realm of "the God of Heaven" and put it squarely into the "I have the right to do this" realm.
- 2. This was no "it's up to you and no one can tell if it has really happened, or not": this was a definitive declaration without qualification.
- IV. What is the Point?
- A. Faith is not faith that cannot be seen.
- B. Faith is not seen until it faces opposition.