Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 5 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5 April 1, 2007 Lincolnton, NC
15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 But so much the more went abroad the report concerning him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed of their infirmities.
16 But he withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed.
I. The Growth of the Reputation of Jesus.
A. The verb Luke used to communicate the idea of the growth of the reputation of Jesus is used 42 times in the New Testament and31of those are Luke's.
1. The word typically means "to travel through" and can indicate a rather narrow passage or a pervasive one (as in the difference between an arrow passing through the air, or a fog moving through the air).
2. Luke's meaning is destroyed if we take the narrow sense: he is saying that the message about Jesus was enormously pervasive. This seems to be crucial on many levels. At the level of a significant exposure of the populace to certain undeniable realities, there is a level of critical concern about just what "exposure" does to people. Certainly Paul's claim to Festus that King Agrippa knew of all of the facts because "...this has not been done in a corner" was important in the legal issues that were involved...getting the legal truth established. Clearly, the establishment of those truths did little to alter the course of events (the will of God is inexorable whether by human "justice" issues or by human "injustice" issues). But, there is this: exposure establishes accountability (Romans 1:20). That is not to say that exposure establishes capability (Romans 7:24 et. al.). Accountability without capability is the crux of the crux (the main issue of the doctrine of the Cross). Man is accountable as a creature. Man is incapable as a sinner. That man rages against his Creator because of his bondage to sin is simply proof that he is a rebellious creature.
B. The fundamental issue of the statement is that there were few who did not "hear about" Jesus.
II. The Intentions of the Vast Multitudes.
A. They wanted to "hear".
B. They wanted to be "healed" from their diseases.
III. At Issue.
A. There were two things going on simultaneously.
1. The "hearing" was about "the Gospel/deliverance/the acceptable year of the Lord" (4:18-19) and "the Kingdom of God" (4:43) in conjunction with John's earlier "repentance for the remission of sins" (3:3).
2. The "healing" was about the establishment of Kingdom conditions at the minimal level of the physical body.
a. There was no "political" solution actually given; though the proclamation of the Kingdom was extended as a "hope" for the future.
b. There was no "social" solution actually given -- there was teaching on how to get along with one another, but there is no "fix" given as with healing (i.e., by divine fiat with instant success).
B. The two simultaneous "happenings" could run together: the "hearing" could be mixed with the "healing" so that the "healing" was extended to the full intent of the "hearing".
C. But the two simultaneous "happenings" could be "wedged" apart so that the fixation upon the body was elevated to primacy and the hearing was rendered essentially ineffectual.
IV. Jesus' Response.
A. He was (imperfect indicative -- a pattern of on-going behavior) pulling away into the wildernesses (plural).
B. He was (imperfect indicative -- a pattern of on-going behavior) praying. Luke uses the idea of prayer in respect to Jesus sufficiently often to give the impression that Jesus did this regularly.
1. The question is of Luke's reference at this point in his record.
a. Clearly he presents Jesus as praying.
b. The prayer is directly connected with the explosive growth of His reputation and the size of the crowd.
c. There is not even a hint as to what Jesus was saying.
2. The issue is of Jesus' consistent conversation with God.