Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 8
Thesis: Jesus' third "Woe" is directed toward those who have decided that Life can be possessed apart from God and His principles of Love-driven righteousness.
Introduction: It has been my contention, since we began our studies of Luke's record of Jesus' teaching in 6:20-49, that Luke is presenting Jesus as a "second Moses" in the sense that He is the Spokesman for God in specific regard to the establishment of the Kingdom of God among men. Moses himself prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15 that God would raise up another prophet "like unto me" and Peter declared by the Spirit that this prophecy referred to the Christ in Acts 3:20-22. These facts were selected by Luke because he wished for Theophilus to understand that Jesus, when He descended from the mountain, was bringing the Truth about the Kingdom of God with Him.
Therefore, it is a part of my contention that Jesus began His teaching on the mountain with certain "seed" doctrines that identify the true nature of the Kingdom of God. As "seeds" they are the bare minimum of expression without much enlargement. These seeds are sown in a set of beatitudes and a parallel set of Woes. We have worked our way through the positive side of the picture, given in the four beatitudes, and find ourselves now looking at the third of four declarations of woe. If, on this Sunday before Thanksgiving, you want a reason to be thankful, consider giving thanks to God for what He is going to do to erase all of your tears.
This morning's study is focused upon Jesus' pronouncement of "Woe" to those who are currently "laughing". What could possibly be wrong with "laughing now"?
November 18, 2007
- I. Review of the Corresponding Beatitude.
- A. In our study of the blessing that is upon those who "weep now" we saw two major facts.
- 1. The first "fact" is that the records of "weeping" are all tied to a sense of terrible loss because of serious sinfulness.
- a. "Weeping" because of self-centered frustration is not what Jesus had in mind.
- b. "Weeping" because of the losses that sin was bringing into experience is what Jesus had in mind.
- 2. The second "fact" is that the word Luke chose to express the ultimate outcome, "ye shall laugh", is a word that has such a strong connotation of ridicule in it that the writer of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament article actually claimed that Luke chose the word in ignorance of the way it was used by Jews (implying that there is no place for ridicule in our view of the ultimate resolution of tears).
- B. In our study of the blessing I concluded that the ridicule of the wicked is indeed what is going to occur when the time of tears for the righteous is over.
- 1. This ridicule is a part of the humiliation of the wicked (Psalm 2 and Isaiah 14:16).
- 2. This ridicule is the major form of "Death" for the proud.
- 3. This ridicule is the essence of the warnings that pepper the Scriptures regarding the Death that awaits those who refuse the Kingdom of God and its principles.
- II. The Meaning of the "Woe".
- A. It is addressed to those who are currently "laughing".
- B. This is not "metaphor" as is the case with the first two declarations of woe.
- C. This is highly particularized: it is not "about" the expression of emotion that is the response to general humor; it is "about" the expression of ridicule toward those who are seen to be incredibly out of touch in their attempts to direct others.
- 1. It's particularized focus is toward those whose "directions" have created antagonism because the "directed" have no wish to "go" where the "director" insists upon going.
- 2. In the parallel beatitude, the focus is upon those who were made to weep because the "director" had once had the power to enforce the foolish directions.
- 3. It's particularized focus is upon the fact that the "director" is seen as having put himself/herself in an impossible situation that is going to reveal how foolish the "directions" were.
- D. The result of this meaning is this: there is a "woe" pronounced upon those who are currently "laughing" because they think they see their enemies defeated.
- III. The Significance of the "Woe".
- A. First, it clearly signals the fact that those who are "laughing now" are doing so in a setting in which the appearance is that of "victory" over the enemy when the "enemy" is the heirs of God's Kingdom.
- 1. This means that those who are "laughing now" have been completely taken in by false appearances (1 Corinthians 2:8).
- a. The major "problem" in the present time is that man's way of judging "appearances" is completely corrupt [Note how all of the blessings and woes go totally against the way almost everyone currently thinks].
- b. The reason for such delusion is man's arrogant rejection of God's revelation in which He has told us what is valuable and what is true.
- 2. This means that those who are "laughing now" are, at root in both heart and mind, totally opposed to Love-driven righteousness.
- B. Second, it clearly signals the fact that the historical reality before the Kingdom of God is actually established on this earth is going to be one of the appearance of the triumph of evil as the "norm" (the wicked laugh because they think they are winning).
- 1. This means that "weeping" is going to be more of a norm than "laughing" for the disciple of Jesus.
- 2. This means that there is an incremental, and growing, subversion of righteousness the longer time runs without Jesus on the throne of David.
- C. Third, it clearly signals the fact that believers have a potent need to be clear on what is true and what is delusional appearance.
- 1. Jesus told His disciples what is true: this present teaching by Jesus is a part of that revelation.
- 2. Jesus' words run completely counter to man's view of things and "how they ought to be".
- 3. Jesus' words are a sharp two-edged sword in that they put man on the knife edge where he has to "thankfully submit to a very painful present" or he begins to "rage against the God Who subjects him to such pain".
- D. Fourth, though it clearly highlights the danger (it is a pronouncement of "woe"), it also serves the believer as a word of final encouragement: there is going to be a "final" laugh.