Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
Thesis: The challenge John's "example" presents to us is this: the greatest hindrance to "faith" is our penchant for exalting our disappointments above the facts.
Introduction: In our study last week I made the claim that "blindness" is rooted in the consideration of the worthless as valuable. I also made the claim that fear dissolves into love when the truly valuable is embraced. Though these claims are not hard to make in the face of the text, to live with them is not easy.
This morning, as we return to Luke's record, we are going to see just how difficult it is to live by faith.
August 17, 2008
- I. Luke's Return to "John".
- A. There are three major issues involved.
- 1. The first is the fact that "John" was deliberately named "John" by God's own decree in a high visibility setting that was/is enormously critical.
- a. In the conflict of the ages, introduced by Satan and propagated by Adam, there are two most fundamental issues.
- 1) The first is a "who" issue: Who is God, the Final Executor of Power?
- 2) The second is a "what" issue: What is the "lost perception" of the God Who is?
- b. In respect to the "who" issue, there are two "implications".
- 1) Whoever turns out to be "God" is going to be "God" (all who turn out to not be "God" are going to be subject to His decisions without recourse).
- 2) All who are not God are going to experience His authority in light of one principle: Life is a consequence of a proper relationship to God (those who yield to Him as God will live and those who do not, will not).
- c. In respect to the "what" issue, there are two "implications".
- 1) The "what" issue will not alter the "who" issue.
- 2) The "what" issue only alters the experience of those who embrace Him as He is.
- d. In the divine decree, those who embraced Yahweh as God experienced a major fulfillment in high joy and those who resisted experienced a significant humiliation.
- 2. Luke's former record.
- a. The last thing Luke told us regarding John (3:20) was that Herod put John in prison.
- b. This fact raises a critical concern: why would Yahweh as God allow Herod, as one of His major competitors in the realm of mankind, to treat John in this manner?
- c. At the heart of this "critical concern" is a very major human misunderstanding: what Yahweh allows determines whether those involved experience "Life".
- 1) This is fundamentally untrue [Psalm 16:11 and Jude 24].
- 2) This is demonstrably untrue in human experience.
- 3. Luke's current record.
- a. Luke deliberately inserted this account into his record at this point.
- 1) This account rests, with that of the people of Nain, between the record of the "faith" of the centurion and the record of the "faith" of the 'sinner'.
- 2) The record of the "faith" of the centurion had to do with "authority" (Who is God?) and the record of the "faith" of the 'sinner' had to do with "love" (What is God like?).
- b. Luke deliberately highlighted the problem of human blindness.
- 1) He told Theophilus that John was questioning something that simply can not be questioned by a man who can "see".
- 2) He told Theophilus that Jesus "gave sight to many that were blind".
- 3) He recorded Jesus as saying, "...tell John...that the blind see...".
- 4) He recorded Jesus as saying, "...tell John...blessed is he who is not scandalized by Me."
- B. There is one "point": not even John escaped the very major human misunderstanding.
- II. Luke's Initial Declaration: John's Disciples "Announced All of These Things to John".
- A. Luke gives us no "boundaries" to the "all of these things".
- 1. We have to assume that "these things" includes more than the raising of the widow's son.
- 2. The only other "things" are what has been going on since 3:20.
- 3. The "proximity" issue means that Jesus' teaching on the mountain, the unusual "faith" of the non-Jew, and the "compassion" motivation are included.
- B. At stake for John is precisely the "problem" that always arises when the very major human misunderstanding is present: How does who Jesus is and what He is like compute in my experience?
- 1. Luke's declaration that John's disciples announced Jesus' words and works to him is a very bottom line issue in that the question by John is totally illegitimate.
- 2. This illegitimacy is seen in that Jesus gave him nothing more; He simply re-did what He had been doing.
- III. Luke's "Point" For Us.
- A. It is easy enough to "say" the words of "faith".
- B. The fact is, however, that we are shot through with "unbelief" in regard to myriads of the details of our lives.