Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 7 Study # 5
Thesis: The sense of entitlement destroys the ability to "believe".
Introduction: A month ago we looked into Luke's characterization of the ruler of the synagogue and discovered that he was not anything at all what he should have been as a representative of God. Our conclusion in regard to this was that Luke wanted his reader(s) to understand that "faith" is supposed to be in the "grace" of God, not in the "worthiness" of the suppliant. We also noted that Luke's use of Jairus was intended to reveal one of the precursors of "faith": a sense of unworthiness.
This morning we are at the point in our text that turns us again to the "larger" story. Thus, we are going to be looking at Luke's presentation of Jesus' dealings with Jairus.
July 26, 2009
- I. Luke's Indicators of a Critical "Point".
- A. First, he intentionally presents the "Jairus" material in the immediate context of Jesus' declaration of the impact of "faith".
- 1. It is his statement that the arrival of the worst possible news for Jairus occurred "while He was still speaking".
- a. This points us to what He had been "saying" about the impact of the woman's faith.
- 1) "It" had "saved" her.
- a) This is only true as an intermediate, methodological issue: it was God Who had "saved" her because she had "believed" Him in a context of desperation and a serious lack of "qualifications".
- b) This is absolutely not true as an ultimate, object issue: the focus upon "faith's" impact has caused many to place "faith" in too high of a place in the stair-step reality of method/object, method/object, method/object.
- 2) "It" was the beginning of her pursuit of "peace".
- a) The "intention" of God for His use of "faith" is not some intermediate, impersonal benefit: it is the establishment of a fearless peace with God that transcends all concepts of a "mechanical" process.
- b) The initial stages of "faith" are just that: initial interrelational "events" that build the fearless, peaceful, relationship between the "believer" and his/her God.
- b. But it also points us to a deliberate action on Jesus' part that was designed to bring this issue of "faith" to the center of attention.
- 1) The word for "speaking" does not focus upon "content" but the process of "making sounds".
- 2) Luke is presenting Jesus as "stalling".
- a) Luke 6:19 makes what the woman did not all that unusual.
- b) That Jesus decided "this time" to make it a "big deal" was not even acceptable to Peter, let alone Jairus.
- c) John 11:15 presents a very similar record.
- 2. It is his statement that Jesus took the opportunity presented by Jairus' reception of this terrible news to emphasize His message.
- a. Fear is unacceptable.
- b. Faith is critical.
- B. Second, he deliberately reveals the fact that Jesus raised the daughter from the dead even though His "message" was not received.
- 1. There is no indication that Jairus became "fearless" in "faith", but, rather, the opposite: both he and his wife were "astonished" by Jesus' miraculous presentation of their daughter to them alive.
- 2. The "message" of Jesus was not that God would not act in the face of fear and unbelief, but that God would act in the face of "fearless faith".
- a. We must understand this distinction.
- 1) There is a particular "point" in which God will not act in the face of fear and unbelief, but there are multiple "points" in which God will act so that fear and unbelief will disappear.
- a) God will not establish a relationship with the fearful and unbelieving: this is an impossibility.
- b) God often will do all manner of things to the fearful and unbelieving in order to dissipate the fear and establish the faith.
- 2) The fact is that raising a dead body to life is an act of God to sponsor faith, not to replace the far greater issue of relational union with Him.
- b. Jesus said what He did to make His point about "faith" and He did what He did to enable it, but He did not require the presence of faith to raise the girl from the dead.
- C. Third, he deliberately contrasted Jairus with the Gentile centurion of 7:6.
- 1. The word "trouble" in the mouth of the messenger is only used three times in the New Testament and two of those three are in Luke and they deliberately set up a contrast.
- a. The centurion, who had a kind of faith that Jesus had been looking for in Israel, was extremely sensitive to the "trouble" to which he was subjecting Jesus and knew he was "unworthy" of Jesus' response to the "trouble" he was causing.
- b. Jairus, in direct contrast, was a "leader" in Israel and gave no thought to the imposition he was making in his fearful unbelief.
- 2. This is Luke's "point": Jesus responds relationally to those who trust Him.
- D. Fourth, he deliberately highlights the differences between Jairus and the woman with whom Jesus was dealing.
- 1. He refused to identify Jairus by name but, rather, identified him according to his "status".
- a. This "status" is a major indictment.
- 1) He was so "unlike" the centurion that he stands out for his unbelief.
- 2) His "performance" as a "ruler" had been, and still was, inimical to the God he was supposed to be representing.
- b. This "status" was completely the opposite of the woman of faith.
- 1) She knew her unworthiness to the point of terror, but she "believed".
- 2) He was oblivious to his unworthiness to the point of terror and did not "believe".
- 2. He identified Jesus according to the way the "ruler" had led his household to identify Him.
- a. Jesus was "the teacher".
- b. But He was not to be "believed".
- 1) Jesus had already done for the widow of Nain what Jairus wanted to be done for him and the record of that action was inescapably known by Jairus.
- 2) But Jairus was terrified when the news arrived that his daughter was dead.
- II. Luke's Critical "Point".
- A. He had already made it by means of his introductory description of the man.
- B. He focuses upon it with the rest of his record.
- C. His "point" is that if a person has a mindset of entitlement, "faith" will simply not exist because it cannot.
- 1. God cannot establish peace between Himself and those who think they ought to be in His place.
- 2. An "entitlement" attitude, when boiled down to its essence, is an attitude of self-deification.