Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 6 Study # 3
Thesis: Knowing who Jesus is does not automatically lead to "restfulness".
Introduction: It is fairly apparent from the text before us that Luke wanted to set the ignorance of the disciples in contrast with the knowledge of the demons. The storm at sea raised the reality that the disciples had been "coasting" in their consideration of Jesus and the implications of His identity to their lives. This, though pretty much normal for human beings, is an oddity, given the nature of the promise which He made to us: Eternal "Life". It would seem to be logical for a person interested in the promise of eternal "Life" to be fundamentally interested in knowing the particulars of meaning for the concept, "Life". But, so far in our record, the disciples were otherwise mentally engaged.
On the other hand, Luke's deliberate adjustment of the record to put the knowledge of the demons at the top of the issues of interest tells us that he wanted Theophilus to know that the demons knew the identity of Jesus.
But, it is also fairly apparent that neither the ignorant, nor the knowing, were being profited by their condition. And the reason was the same on both sides of the divide: fear. The disciples were terrified of "perishing" and the demons were terrified of "being tormented". So, does this mean that the identity of Jesus is not the big deal I made it in my message last week? Well, it certainly can mean that, but it does not have to mean that if ... . There is a very critical detail in the record that unveils what the missing ingredient is, and today we want to consider what that detail is.
May 10, 2009
- I. Beginning With Luke's "Beginning".
- A. He described the "potent male" as being formerly "of the city" and currently "demonized".
- B. There are two other characteristics that he brings to the fore.
- 1. For a long time he had not worn a "himation".
- a. The translators pretty much universally give the impression that the man was naked.
- b. This is pretty much inconsistent with Luke's use of his words (there is no instance in his books of Luke/Acts that can clearly mean "to be naked" and there are a host of instances when it means "to not be wearing the outer garment").
- c. When we look into Luke's terminology, we find one fact that stands out very clearly: people take off the "himation" when faced with a task that is either arduous or of such a nature that the "himation" might be "in the way", or a part of a financial agreement in which the "himation" serves as the valuable alternative.
- d. This raises this question: what is it about being possessed by demons that made the man shed his "himation", and what is Luke's "point"?
- 1) The consistent reality about wearing the "himation" is that the wearer is presenting his/her "best side" and is not anticipating any particularly stressful circumstances.
- 2) That leads us directly to this conclusion: there is no "best side" for those who are "demonized" nor is there any "rest".
- a) These are highly significant theological themes in regard to "Life".
- b) In the Revelation, the declaration is made on more than one occasion that even in heaven there are some things that need to be kept hidden.
- i. Revelation 3:5 and 3:18 both indicate that one needs to be "clothed" in a "himation" even in heaven.
- ii. This implies that "heaven" is not going to completely "undo" what sin has done, but is going to provide a sufficient counter-provision so that the "benefit" of having sinned is not lost but the tragedy is no longer allowed to have any place (this may cause some theological heart-burn but Romans 8:28 ought to cool it down).
- c) And the relief from "stress" is the major promise of "Life" as Jesus gave it in Matthew 11:29.
- i. This "rest" is deliberately tied to the "soul" by Jesus as His way of showing the tremendous importance of "the City".
- ii. This "rest" is what is most clearly absent from the experience of both the disciples on the high seas and the demoniac on terra firma.
- d) Luke's "point" is this: the condition of the "soul" is vastly more important than most other considerations--a fact that everyone knows.
- e. Thus, Luke is reiterating his claim that the "man from the city" had not found in his city what he needed most.
- 2. He was not abiding in a house but in the cemetery.
- a. Because Jesus chose to use the "building of a house" as His main metaphor to emphasize the importance of His truth at the end of chapter six, we need to realize that "not living in a house at all" is the worst possible scenario.
- 1) It is one thing to "build a house" that will endure the raging torrent.
- 2) It is a lesser thing to "build a house" that will work for a while.
- 3) It is the worst case to not have a house at all.
- b. Living among the tombs reveals a sick fixation upon "death" as if it offered some kind of final release.
- 1) The worse the torment in the soul becomes, the greater the longing for some kind of relief.
- 2) Those involved with demons are invariably deceived into thinking that "death" will provide some relief.
- 3) But the experience of the demons in the confrontation with Jesus is as clear a denial of that delusion as there can be: they had no rest and were in sure expectation of "torment" that would be unending.
- II. Observing Luke's "Critical Detail".
- A. The disciples were involved in the death of the soul by reason of their fears because they did not know Who Jesus is.
- B. But the demons did know and their knowledge only intensified their fears.
- C. The "critical detail" of Luke's record is the opening statement of the demons to Jesus: "What to me and to You?"
- 1. This question declares that the demoniac believed that there was no point of contact between him and Jesus -- and that this was "good".
- 2. This question boils down to the expression of the belief that there can be some form of a "relatively satisfying" experience in a Jesus-less state.
- a. Being crowded into a single body with 6,000 other demons (maybe 3,000 since there were two men) might not be "ideal", but it beat "Hell".
- b. The problem with this kind of thinking is that the Jesus-free life is actually a long downward spiral that never ends and never "settles out".
- 3. This question actually takes the lid off of the greatest delusion in the universe: there is no "Life" without the "Life-Giver" and there is little to be accomplished by taking a little "Life" here and there and keeping the "Life-Giver" at arms length at the crucial "lusts" levels.