Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 7
May 27, 2007
25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
1901 ASV Translation:
25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his house, glorifying God.
26 And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God; and they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day.
- I. Luke's Focus Upon "Immediacy".
- A. Sixteen of the nineteen uses of the term are in Luke/Acts.
- 1. The first was Zacharias' "instant" ability to speak as soon as he reinforced the fact that John was to be named "John".
- 2. The second was the first time Jesus exercised His power to heal: Peter's mother in law immediately arose and served them.
- 3. The record before us in this study marks the third time Luke brings "immediacy" into the picture.
- B. Most of the references are to healings which occurred pretty much instantaneously.
- C. The point seems obvious: Jesus' power was made the more obvious because there was very little lag time between His command and the result. Though there is a case or two where the "testimony" was "immediately" unsubstantiated (how does a woman with an issue of blood demonstrate her healing?), the majority of "immediate" cases were long time, widely known, cases which required "healing" before the commanded action could take place.
- 1. Since Jesus had made "immediacy" the issue of "knowing" with whom they were dealing, it is important that there was no question of the healing.
- 2. There was no excuse afterward for any response other than the one the man gave: immediate obedience coupled with "glorifying God".
- II. Luke's Focus Upon the Reaction.
- A. The man was "glorifying" God.
- B. The observers "were taken by ecstasy", "glorified God", "were filled with fear", and "were saying 'We have seen unexpected things today'."
- 1. "Ecstasy" is a transliteration of the Greek term. It is used to refer to being in a state in which the "body" is insensible by reason of the near absolute focus of the "mind" upon present facts that are so out of the ordinary that it is difficult, if not impossible, for the person to simply "absorb" them as the vast majority of facts are handled in the day to day, unordinary, processes of life. It is used to refer to a "trance", which is a state of total focus that comes with special divine revelation. The implication is that there was an almost total lack of physical activity on the part of the entire crowd (except for those who unconsciously moved out of the way so the man could get by to leave the house). The issue here seems to be this: everyone there was drawn into a sharp focus upon the fact that Jesus is "the Son of Man" and He has the final decision as to whether a person is "forgiven", or not. This would, naturally, bring the issue of one's standing before God and the Final Reality right up to the top of every matter of concern.
- 2. "They were glorifying God." The issue here is being absorbed with the reality of God's actual character -- especially that aspect of His character that mixes "forgiveness" and "power". This issue is particularly interesting in that it stands alongside of the next issue: fear. How does one "glorify God" and be "filled with fear" at the same time? Clearly there was a sufficient cause for high exuberance -- one of their own had been restored to a "normal" life, having been delivered from his "palsy". But, what is going on is a mixture of contrasting factors: on one hand, there is an abundance of evidence that one's sins need not be feared as an impossible obstacle to divine acceptance; but, on the other hand, what if mine are? It is one thing to see mercy extended to someone else; it is altogether another thing to believe that the same mercy is available to me.
- 3. "They were filled with fear." There must have been a noticable trembling of hands and stunned looks upon the faces.
- a. Why fear? Luke uses the noun in seven contexts with at least one (21:26) indicating an emotional reaction so strong that it stops their hearts. He uses the related verb 21 times with implications of emotional reactions that range from something as simple as a strong desire to not offend God (1:50) to stark terror (2:9; 8:25) [eight times it is in the imperative, "Fear not"]. In between are emotions such as the fear of humiliation (9:45), the fear of persecution (12:7), and the fear of the loss of a child (8:50). The "positive" issues of fear are only raised in a couple of places, both of which address the need to "fear God". For the most part, "fear" is a destructive attitude that needs to be reined in.
- b. Why, if fear was one of the reactions, did Luke bring it into play again? It certainly seems to be the missing ingredient today in those circles in which the "miraculous anointing" is played up. Fear always means that a valued entity is being threatened. Apparently Luke understood that "fear" lurks beneath the surface of all men's superficiality with a destructive impact. It is, according to John, the opposite of "love" [and this observance is remarkable in light of Mary's statement in 1:50 where she chose "fear" instead of "love" as a prompt for mercy] and cannot be, as the opposite, a very healthy thing.
- c. It may mean that Luke was likening what occurred to the events of 1:12 and 2:9 where there was no doubt in the participants' minds that they were being exposed to "heaven's representatives" (and also, perhaps, 5:8-10 where Peter's sins are suddenly a terror upon his soul). In any case, something was "threatened" (people are simply not "afraid" when there is no threatened loss). The questions are two: of what loss were the people "afraid", and why does Luke insert that issue at this point?
- 4. They claimed that they had "seen abnormal things today." The issue seems to be a blend between Jesus' claims and His actions. The people in attendance on this day may not have seen any of the other "phenomenal" things that Jesus had done, but they had heard of them. Healing a leper is about as "phenomenal" as it gets, but that was only "heard" about, not personally witnessed.