Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3
Thesis: God always destroys the expectations of the ungodly.
Introduction: In our studies we have been seeing that the theologically conservative leadership of Israel rejected Jesus as the Christ. This is the reason Judaism continues today as a religion in spite of the fact that God has destroyed its foundations. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Roman armies in A.D. 70 was not a "secularized event" in which God took no hand as if it were simply the "fortunes of war". Rome was His hand because of His wrath in the face of the stiff-necked rebellion of Israel. God had made a covenant with this nation and told them exactly what kinds of things would happen if they rebelled against Him. Within the text of that covenant were these words: " Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; on a sudden shall he be broken, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 6:15) and "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1). The problems men typically have with God's active intervention within their own history are two: first, they think in terms of the delusion of "secularity" (God is not involved here); and, second, they refuse to let "large history" speak to their "small history" (God's dealings with nations, say they, are not tokens of His particularized dealings with individuals).
This morning we are going to look into Luke's record of Jesus' destruction of those who opposed Him as a particularized example of God's dealings with humanity. He did it with a pair of parables.
August 5, 2007
- I. Why Did Jesus Destroy the Pharisees?
- A. Because He was angry with them.
- B. Because they were sending people to Hell by their arrogant theology [Matthew 23:15].
- C. Because there was no good reason for their obstinate opposition to Him.
- II. Did Jesus Destroy the Pharisees?
- A. "Destroy" is a pretty strong term.
- B. What did Jesus do that "destroyed" them?
- 1. Before we can understand "destruction", we have to understand its essential nature in contrast with its methods and its time frames.
- a. The essential nature of "destruction" is the frustration of the most deeply held desires of the destroyed.
- b. The "methods" vary according to the identity of the desires.
- c. The "time frames" vary according to what God intends to accomplish.
- 1) Because God is mercifully longsuffering and loves His enemies, He typically stretches out the time so that destruction is incremental and time consuming.
- 2) Because God has an end to His mercy, often the destruction is finally accomplished in an inescapable display of horror.
- 2. What Jesus did.
- a. The Pharisees had a primary "deeply held desire": they absolutely lusted after the good opinions of the general population.
- b. Jesus' response to their attack made them look like fools in the eyes of the general population.
- 1) To see this, we will begin at the end.
- a) Luke records a statement by Jesus at the end of His parables that no other Gospel writer recorded.
- b) His deliberate uniqueness makes Luke's record highly significant.
- c) Jesus simply said, "And no man having drunk old wine desireth new; for he saith, 'The old is good.'"
- i. His meaning is not unclear: no one who tastes the superior quality of aged wine prefers new wine.
- ii. His implication is not unclear: men, because they prefer the superior taste of aged wine, do what they have to do to obtain aged wine (which means that they accept both the necessary processes and the delay of their gratification).
- d) It is important to understand that Jesus used "drinking wine" because the Pharisees had made it into a "big deal" even though it was a very small deal.
- 2) To see this, we will apply the end to the middle.
- a) In the middle of the record, Jesus addressed the willingness of men to accept the processes of aged wine-making at the relatively minor, but critical, step of how one allows "age" to develop.
- b) It is because men "desire" aged wine that they do not put new wine in old wineskins.
- i. If they put new wine in old wineskins, they end up with no wine.
- ii. If they put new wine in new wineskins, they end up with aged wine...and brittle wineskins.
- 3) To see this, we will apply the end to the beginning.
- a) At the beginning of the record of the parables, Jesus addressed the willingness of men to mend old garments with old patches.
- b) Again, it is because men do not wish to discard what could still be serviceable if it had a little "repair" that they are willing to mend old garments with old patches.
- 4) To see this, we must synthesize the parables and understand what Jesus is saying.
- a) Both of the parables involve men taking care to do what will fulfill their desires and to refrain from doing what will inherently destroy their desires.
- b) Both of the parables deal with things so obvious that no one present would argue with Him about whether it was "true".
- 5) To see this, we must understand what the Pharisees wished to accomplish: they were attacking Jesus' disciple-making as an attack on Him to try to make Him look bad and them look good.
- a) What was the short-term outcome? They were made to look foolish for trying to force "desperate" behavior upon "giddy" disciples.
- b) What was the long-term outcome? They have become a despised by-word for men who were too stupid for words.
- c. Jesus effectively destroyed them.
- III. What Does Jesus' Destruction of the Pharisees Mean to Us?
- A. It establishes a principle of wisdom: one cannot undercut established processes and obtain the desired end.
- B. It establishes Who is in control and to what degree He is in control: the One Who determines whether new skin will stretch and new cloth will shrink is the One with Whom we are dealing.
- C. It establishes a requirement for obtaining our desires: we must learn from our experiences as the dealings of God with us.
- 1. In every event that catches our attention, we must ask ourselves one basic question: did this happen while I was walking with a clear conscience before God, or not?
- 2. Then we must respond according to the answer: either repentance, or thanksgiving, or both.