Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5
Thesis: Truth can only be finally known when it "fits" the requirements of love.
Introduction: In a widely publicized statement of serious cynicism, Pilate asked Jesus a crucial question: What is Truth? This question, recorded in John 18:38, was raised because Jesus had plainly told him that "everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice." Mark 15:10 tells us at least part of the reason Pilate was as jaundiced about "truth" issues as he was: the "Jews" who boldly bragged to one and all that they were the people of the only true God had delivered Jesus up to him and demanded His death for one reason; they were jealous of His popularity with the masses, a matter having been demonstrated on the preceding Sunday as He entered Jerusalem as the King of God's Kingdom. If the "people of the only true God" could act with such murderous hatred over who was "most liked", was there any "truth" to be found anywhere?
At the root of Pilate's cynicism was a most basic realization: "Truth" does not exist when "Love" has been twisted into the crassest forms of self-serving brutality.
This morning we are going to look into Luke's presentation of Jesus' confrontation of this perversion: loudly boasting of being "of the Truth" while being consumed by the lust to be at the top of the heap of those who have the adulation of the multitudes.
May 13, 2007
- I. Luke's "Scenario".
- A. Jesus has been meticulously presented as the Son of God (1:35 and 3:22 immediately followed by 3:23-38) with verifiable information.
- B. Jesus has been set forth as possessing the character of that "Son": He wielded the power of God.
- C. Jesus has been shown to have claimed that the real issue of all of Life is the issue of whether a person has a forgiveness-based relationship with the God of Heaven, or not.
- D. Jesus has been secretly accused of "blasphemy" by the majority of those who exercised authority over the masses.
- II. Jesus' Confrontation.
- A. He confronted the real issue.
- 1. His first question was this: "What are you thinking in your hearts?"
- a. There are two specific issues involved.
- 1) The "heart" is that aspect of us that has decided what is important on multiple levels.
- 2) The "thinking" is that aspect of us that both implements, and justifies, the decisions.
- b. There is one huge danger involved: the "heart", not the "mind", is the determining factor.
- 1) There is a reason that the essential component of the New Covenant is the promise of a new heart.
- 2) There is a reason that the methodology of the development of New Covenant Life is the renewal of the mind.
- c. There is a clear illustration of these truths in this text.
- 1) The scribes (Luke 20:46) and Pharisees (Luke 11:43) were "heart-bound" by serious evil.
- 2) The scribes and Pharisees made their accusation (He is blaspheming) and then justified it with "T"heology (who can forgive sins but God?).
- 2. His second question was this: What will it take to get you to face your hearts?
- a. These questions were raised to address the accusation/"T"heology conclusions of the falsely motivated.
- 1) The questions "question" the accusation/"T"heology conclusions.
- 2) As such, this second question is not so much about what He was doing, but what they were doing.
- b. The "ease" of the statements has nothing to do with the words.
- c. The "ease" of the statements has to do with verifiable claims.
- 1) What is "easy" depends entirely upon what is being attempted.
- a) On the one hand, Jesus was "attempting" to establish His identity as the One Who will make the final determination as to whose sins are to be "forgiven".
- b) On the other hand, the scribes and Pharisees were "attempting" to legitimize their refusal to accept His identity.
- 2) If one wishes to make claims that cannot be verified, it is "easier" to say "your sins are forgiven".
- a) Jesus' point here is not that He was making unverifiable claims, but that they were.
- b) All "T"heology is supposed to be rooted in "revelation", but "revelation" is in words that have to be linked to motives.
- 3) If one wishes to make claims that can be verified, it is "easier" to say "rise and walk".
- d. The issue Jesus was pressing upon them was whether they would permit the values of their hearts to be changed.
- 1) He did not give them the option as to whether they would permit their values to be exposed.
- 2) He only gave them the option of whether they would "repent" of their core commit- ments.
- B. He used a universally accepted tactic.
- 1. In all of Scripture, the exercise of extraordinary power is accepted as "proof" of the legitimacy of the exerciser.
- 2. Even 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13:13 indicate the universal human acceptance of this "line of argument".