Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
Thesis: The rejection of Jesus had its deepest roots in an antagonism within the self-righteous to Jesus' doctrine of the necessity for, and effectiveness of, repentance.
Introduction: In our study last week we considered the fact that the Pharisees and their scribes challenged Jesus' "associations" as an indication of a lack of godliness so that they could undercut His claim to the "Son of Man" title. Their argument was that "birds of a feather flock together" and Jesus' "eating and drinking with tax gatherers and sinners" was proof of His true interests and lack of godly character. We also saw that they had made a major blunder in their reasoning: they misapplied the Word of God by ignoring the fundamental principle that biblical imperatives always have a "setting". Paul cleared up the "associations" issue in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 by clarifying the meaning of the biblical imperatives regarding "associations". They also misread the intent of Jesus in "eating and drinking with tax gatherers and sinners": He did not do that because He preferred their company; He did it because they needed the opportunity to come to repentance. He was at Levi's "reception" in order to invite "sinners" into the Life of God.
This morning we are going to move a bit further into Luke's record and look into a third account of an objection raised by the Pharisees and their scribes. They had objected to His declaration of "forgiveness" for a "believer" in 5:17-26. They had objected to His summons of Levi to His inner circle in 5:27-32. And now we come to 5:33-39 where we find them objecting to His disciples' lack of self-denial.
July 22, 2007
- I. The Account in Its "Setting".
- A. It is the "middle" record of five "objections" by the Pharisees.
- B. The heart of the "objections" has to do with Jesus' claim to be the "Son of Man".
- 1. The initial issue was introduced by Luke with an undeclared, but unmistakable, claim by Jesus to be a "greater than Moses" by the cleansing of a man "full of leprosy".
- 2. That initial "identity" issue was followed immediately by Jesus' stated claim to be the "Son of Man" in the stream of Daniel's "Son of Man" prophecy regarding the coming King of the Kingdom of God.
- C. The chief cause of the "objections" was the Pharisees' deeply rooted distaste for Jesus' doctrines of man's depravity and God's mercy.
- 1. The Pharisees could not abide being called "the offspring of vipers" because of their lust for "recognition by reason of personal qualification."
- 2. Nor could the Pharisees abide Jesus' adamant declaration that God accepted "repentance" as the requirement for actual regeneration.
- D. The central thesis of this objection was that Jesus was not sufficiently internally committed to God to be qualified for the "Son of Man" status.
- II. The Focus of The Account.
- A. There is an accusation that Jesus is "out of step".
- 1. He is not following John's example, though He is preaching John's message.
- a. The hypocrisy here is enormous because these "accusers" have no more use for John than they do for Jesus [Note Luke 7:30-35].
- b. However, they use John because of his widespread popularity and think that they can undercut Jesus by driving a wedge between Jesus and that popularity.
- 2. He is not following the "conservative, biblical theologians" and their disciples.
- B. There is an accusation that Jesus is not sufficiently internally committed to God.
- 1. The issue of "fasting".
- a. It was widely seen as "sacrificial self-denial in the service of God".
- b. It was widely used by the "religious" as a method of self-exaltation over others.
- 1) In Matthew 6:1, there is a command by Jesus to not do righteousness before men to be seen of them that is followed by three major examples (giving -- 6:2-4; praying -- 6:5-15; and fasting -- 6:16-18).
- 2) In Luke 18:11-12, there is a clear indication that "fasting" had taken a front row seat in the "I am superior to you" bleachers.
- c. It was widely misunderstood as a "method of acquisition from God".
- 1) Fasting was seen to be a way to get God's favor.
- 2) Fasting was legitimately practiced as a way to get into God's plans.
- 2. The absence of "fasting" indicated a lack of intensity of interest.
- 3. The perceived lack of intensity was used as an accusation of insufficient commitment.
- III. The Problems With the Accusation.
- A. What about Jesus' "fasting" for forty days and nights in the wilderness?
- B. What about Jesus' rejection of popularity in favor of doing the will of His Father?
- C. Why did Jesus preach depravity and repentance?