Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 7
Thesis: Jesus deliberately forced His audience to face the possibilities of their future.
Introduction: We have spent almost two months considering Luke 5:17-26. For the most part, it is a paragraph that is "past history" for us. It happened 2,000 years ago and the issue involved -- the forgiveness of sins -- is supposedly behind us as those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ. It might seem to some that when we come to something "basic" that is supposedly behind us, we ought not to spend two months focusing upon it. But, there are two sides to this coin. The exposition of the Scriptures involves both a careful look at what God has said and a willingness to pay the price of that care. Human beings are chewed up by a natural arrogance that is demonic and dismissive of God. Let me see if I can illustrate what I mean by telling you about a young lady at BMA camp many years ago who was totally arrogant and equally blind to it... The problem is this: there is almost nothing worthwhile that can be achieved easily. In fact, there is a profound tendency in human beings to be dismissive of everything that comes easily. But enough of my "justifications" for plodding along.
This morning we are going to consider Luke's record of what happened to the people who were involved in Jesus' activities and teaching on that day 2,000 years ago.
May 27, 2007
- I. The Man at the Center of the Attention.
- A. He was characterized by "need" at two levels.
- 1. He "needed" a physical restoration if he was to live a "normal" life.
- 2. He "needed" a spiritual restoration if he was to have a "Life" at all.
- B. He was described as a "man of faith".
- 1. As such, he was what we would call a "believer" in that era dominated by God's program for the Jewish nation under the Mosaic Law.
- a. This meant two particular things.
- 1) He was "justified" by his Abraham-like faith (Jesus' declaration that his sins were forgiven included a "perfect tense" verb that means that the fact was accomplished before this day).
- 2) He was "qualified" for the conditional blessings of the Mosaic Covenant, one of which was "normal health".
- b. This set the stage for the fulfillment of the promises of God to him.
- 1) Just as with Zacharias and Elizabeth, the promises have a "timing" issue that is undeclared and that does not nullify the promise during the "lag time".
- 2) The "healing" was designed to be a divine presentation on a very public stage so that the nation could have the facts before them in stark terms.
- 2. As such, he was motivated into visible actions that testified of the reality of his faith.
- C. He is declared to have "instantly" arisen before the crowd and have taken up his pallet and departed to his house.
- 1. The focus upon "instantly" is another Lukan intention because 16 of the 19 uses of the particular term used here are Luke's.
- a. Luke knew that "instantaneous" results were critical to what was "necessary".
- 1) The word "instantly" derives from an inherent sense that something is inexorably driving what is happening: nothing can stop this.
- 2) There was not to be allowed any interrupting time that could compromise what Jesus had linked together: you will know that I am the "Son of Man" and that, as such, I have the authority to tell whose sins have been pardoned by God when you see My authority to dispell, instantly, this profound and prolonged physical "problem".
- b. Luke was attempting to re-create for Theophilus what had actually happened.
- 2. The focus is also upon a relatively phenomenal result of Jesus' authority.
- D. He is declared to have been "glorifying God" on his way home.
- 1. This means he was actively expressing "truth about God".
- 2. The "truth" he was actively expressing had to do with His integrity and vast mercy.
- II. The People on the Edges.
- A. They are said to have been "entranced".
- 1. This is the word that, when transliterated into English, becomes "ecstasy".
- 2. But it does not mean what our word "ecstasy" has come to mean.
- a. Our word describes "high euphoria".
- b. This word describes what happens when a person comes into a trance.
- 1) It refers to a physical condition of "obliviousness".
- 2) It refers to a mental condition of "extreme focus and profound clarity".
- 3. The "clarity and focus" have been set forth by Jesus: "I am the One with Whom you will deal in respect to your sins."
- B. They are said to have been glorifying God like the man on his way home.
- 1. Their basis seems to have been the realization that Daniel's "Son of Man" was on the scene and there could be no doubt about that.
- 2. This strongly implied that the Kingdom of God was upon them...the hope of all of the ages.
- C. They, however, were plunged by that dawning realization into fear.
- 1. There is only one explanation for their fear: they were not "believers".
- a. The "believer" went home without any fear.
- b. The "believer" has "peace with God" and is not intimidated by the reality of his sins because they have been dismissed by God.
- 2. They have no place to hide.
- a. They, themselves, admit that, "We have seen contrary-to-the-expected today."
- b. Whatever it was that they "expected", they now have no recourse but to deal with the issues that have been forced upon them.
- III. The People on the Far Edges.
- A. We, like Theophilus, are significantly removed from the reality of the present experience and are confronted only with the "testimony".
- B. But, once God sets a thing forth in history, it is incumbent upon all those who follow after to accept the force of what He has done.
- 1. God is extraordinarily angry with people who refuse to do this (all of the demonstrations of God's violent wrath in the Old Testament are tied to the fact that people are blowing off the testimony of God's actual acts in history -- note Belshazzar in Daniel 6).
- 2. Hell burns hotter for those who come after and heaven is more glorious.
- a. Jesus constantly warned about those who would rise in judgment against those who came after, but would not believe.
- b. Jesus told Thomas that those who "believed without seeing" would be "blessed".