Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 7 Message Outlines
Luke 7:18-23 (3)
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 August 31, 2008 Lincolnton, N.C.
(462)Thesis:To be able to "see" means to be clear on one fact: Jesus is Life.
Introduction:For the last several weeks we have been looking at one of Luke's crucial theses: that "faith" in Jesus of Nazareth is the "pipeline" that carries the joy of God into the hearts of human beings. This is the reason for his record of the clear-eyed, unique, "faith" of the non-Jewish, Roman, centurion. Clearly Jesus was seeking for the kind of "faith" that enables men to participate in His Life. Just as clearly, His "Life" has no meaning apart from its root: joy. And also as clear as it can be is this fact: Joy has many destroyers for one reason; it has, in the hearts/minds of men, many roots. But, this is not true. Joy has one Root, one Pipeline, and one Reality. The reality of joy is true freedom from all fears; the pipeline of joy is true confidence that there is nothing to fear in the love of God; and the root of joy is the Person: Jesus.
This morning we are going to take this thesis back into Luke's text so that we may see what is going on in Jesus' dealings with John.
I. At Issue: Giving Sight to the Blind.
A. The overall record of Luke's "John" material concerns his lack of "centurion faith".
1. His actions contradict his own message.
2. Jesus' "blessing" statement reproves him in as gentle a way as is possible.
3. And Jesus' cryptic comment in 7:28 highlights a massive difference between John and Kingdom reality.
B. To answer John's "confusion", Jesus both "graciously gave many blind people the ability to see" and put the restoration of the ability to see at the top of the things He told John's disciples to tell him.
1. The problems of blindness are legion.
2. The solution to blindness is one.
II. The Method: Forcing Logic Into the Mix.
A. The nature of the "force".
1. It begins with the surfacing of the "problem".
a. Men have myriads of "buried" blocks to joy.
b. "Buried" things do their work without being seen as the cause.
c. Because it was John's imprisonment that surfaced his "question", we have to conclude that, for John, the fears involved in imprisonment were formerly "buried" issues.
d. Because God permitted Herod's evil treatment of John, we know that God was willing to bring what was "buried" in John to the surface.
e. Because that which is allowed to surface is sufficiently painful to demand attention, once a person is confronted with the pain, he/she is motivated to seek an answer.
2. It develops with the "focusing" of the seeker upon the "facts".
a. The facts are always "out there" and "plain to see" -- if one can see: Jesus did and said nothing to John's disciples that had not already been done and said multiple times in very public ways.
b. Jesus responded to John's "blindness" by "focusing" John's attention.
1) In that very hour Jesus did again what He had been doing.
2) By this action Jesus cut through all of the clutter: in effect He forced John to deal with one clear set of facts.
c. Jesus' "focus" for John was upon "the witness".
1) Jesus did nothing directly to/for John.
2) Jesus did what He did in the presence of John's messengers and then told them to tell John.
3) This is a deliberate action in which John is forced back to one bottom line.
a) The "bottom line" was not Jesus' actions -- they were an attendant issue.
b) The "bottom line" was the question of whether John was going to accept "the witness".
i. "The witness" began in Isaiah -- the Word of God.
ii. From there it moved to the testimonies of history.
B. The result of the "force".
1. The "problem" has been brought to light.
2. The "solution" has been brought to light.
III. The Conclusion: "Seeing" Means Being Clear on Jesus as the Life.
A. John's imprisonment was not what caused John's "deterioration" of joy; it only made it possible to address what did cause it (just as people's diseases, distresses, and demons do not cause a "deterioration of joy", they reflect its absence and make insight possible).
B. What caused John's deterioration of joy was the breakdown of "faith" in the words of God.
C. Since Jesus, as the Word of God, is the sum total of all of the words of God, He is the root of Joy and when we trust Him the clog in the pipeline is broken loose.
D. The remaining "problem": which "words" of the "Word" open the clog?
1. The answer depends upon what is "buried" and what is being "surfaced".
2. The answer depends upon the issue raised by Luke's wording regarding the "many blind": they were 'graced' to see.
3. The answer depends upon the processes.
a. The joy departs, the pain sets in.
b. The "buried" starts to surface.
c. The person responds by either refusing to let it surface by denying it, or by appealing to Jesus for a real solution -- a better understanding of Him in relation to me.