Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
Thesis: Unless men come to grips with what is really important, there is no deliverance from fear.
Introduction: As we have moved through Luke's record of Jesus' words and works, especially from 6:12 to our current text, we have been confronted with two major themes. The first is the central concept of the eternal Kingdom of God; and the second is the centrality of "faith" as the critical factor for man in respect to that central concept. When we were studying the words of Jesus regarding that central concept we discovered that He put it forth in terms of one word in 6:36 -- "compassion". His argument is this: the Father of the Eternal Kingdom and all of its subjects is "compassionate", so His children can ill afford to not be. But, as we saw in those studies, the "compassion" of the Father unfolds along three major lines: loving one's enemies, doing good to those who are hateful, and giving to those whose needs are going unmet. These "expressions" of compassion challenge men at the core of their values and, as Jesus revealed afterward, the challenges will not be successfully met unless a person comes to grips with what it means to believe in the compassionate Father. Thus, the record of the centurion's "unique-in-Israel" faith -- a faith that addresses the "authority" issue with a clear-eyed bottom line. That bottom line is, fundamentally, the conviction that when Jesus says something that "something" is absolutely trustworthy and must be put into play.
And then along comes the text before us this morning: the record of the raising of the dead in Nain and the record of the response of the people. To "get" the point of this record, we have to do two things. First, we have to see what Luke has done "linguistically" in his record; and, second, we have to see the major thesis that drives Luke's record.
So, this morning we are going to attempt to "get the point".
August 10, 2008
- I. First, Luke's "Linguistic Methodology".
- A. We have already argued that the flow of Luke's material is being driven by "T"heology.
- B. Now we have to look at how he attempts to get his readers to set aside enough of the competing details so that they are not distracted by them.
- 1. First, we note that he zeroed in on "the Lord's" motivation for raising the dead man.
- a. He did not use the same word that Jesus used in 6:36.
- b. He did, however, use a word that drives the thesis home.
- 1) True "compassion", of the 6:36 kind, sets a person up for physiological, emotional, and spiritual consequences.
- 2) The word used to describe the Lord's motivation is the physiological term for the natural outworking of the 6:36 compassion.
- c. Thus, we have to realize that Luke is deliberately tying this record to Jesus' Kingdom teaching at the point of 6:36.
- 2. Second, we note that he described the reaction of the people in terms that also have a prior presence in his presentation.
- a. "Fear" was an early and often theme in Luke.
- b. But, "fear" coupled to "Judea" and "glorifying God" has one prior record: 5:17-26.
- 3. Third, we note in the prior record that there was a central thesis that created a the "fear"/"glorifying God" reaction: the forgiveness of sins that Jesus can give.
- II. Second, Luke's Major Thesis.
- A. To "get the point" we must put the twin records side by side and ask a few questions.
- 1. The first question: why would Luke put "forgiveness" next to "raising from the dead" side by side?
- 2. The second question: which is more important; having one's sins forgiven or being restored to living functionality?
- 3. The third question: given the link between being raised and the question of forgiveness, why would Luke deliberately put this record immediately after the specific focus upon the centurion's faith?
- B. To "get the point" we must compare the major theses of the twin records and look at the responses Luke records.
- 1. The major thesis of 5:17-26 is that Jesus, personally, has the "authority" (the very issue at the heart of the centurion's faith) to forgive sins.
- 2. The major thesis of 7:11-17 is that Jesus has the ability to raise the dead.
- 3. The responses in both texts is the same: fear, glorifying God, and "saying" something.
- 4. But there is an additional aspect to the 7:11-17 text: the "saying" element has two specific parts.
- a. The people "say", "A great prophet has arisen among us."
- 1) This statement is true, but it is illegitimate in the face of the facts and the centurion's "faith".
- 2) John, according to 1:76, was the "great prophet" and Jesus is far more than a "prophet".
- b. The people "say", "God has visited His people."
- 1) This statement is also true, but it is likewise illegitimate.
- 2) The "visitation", according to 1:68, was to bring redemption (not physical restoration from the dead) and, according to 1:78-79, it was to bring the blind into the practice of the way of peace (not to encourage people to remain blind).
- C. When we look at these facts, a major thesis bubbles to the surface.
- 1. As long as one's "values" remain locked on to the "unvaluable", blindness cannot be lifted.
- 2. If one's "values" are tranformed into a mirror of the "valuable", sight becomes clear.
- 3. With clarity of sight, the faith of the centurion becomes the crucial factor and "fear" dissolves into love.