Thesis:Grace seeks to generate "faith" by ignoring disqualifying attitudes and actions and initiating actions that tend toward the establishment of it.
Introduction:It is clear from the combined stories at the end of Luke 8 that Luke was attempting to show that Jesus was focused like a laser upon the generation of "faith" in His disciples as He prepared them to take on more of the responsibility of the ministry. In the "story within the story" He declared that it was the woman's "faith" that had saved her. And in the original story He countered the bad news from the household that the daughter had died with the exhortation, "Do not let your fear run away with you; believe and she shall be saved." Thus we can hardly miss the point: faith is the divine requirement of life.
Within the concept, the issue of "fear" is paramount. The Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them because of a great "fear"; Jairus was afraid because his daughter was dying; the woman who surreptitiously touched Jesus' garment was trembling with fear when she found that she could not remain unknown, and Jesus directly charged Jairus to take charge of his fear and block its inclination to explode. In every case, "fear" held the potential of enormously destructive choices.
This morning, since the transition to the story about Jairus deliberately establishes a contrast between those in Galilee and those in the land of the Gerasenes, we are going to take the time to look into the background for that contrast.
I. The Origins of the Reaction of the Gerasenes.
A. They had deeply imbibed in the delusion of Godlessness and had replaced His "Life" with mechanisms that allowed the delusion to grow.
1. Raising hogs to eat and sell was an extremely dangerous activity because of the inherent danger built into the digestive processes of pigs.
2. But, it was "common" to be able to eat pork with no health complications and it was financially profitable.
3. Most people will not be persuaded to abandon an activity that allows them to experience the delight of physical satiation without consequences and monetary profit also.
B. They had carelessly set "value" on its head.
1. What happens to other people was not as important as what happens to me.
2. What I do to others in order to get my way is not important.
3. True value is found in my health, my prosperity, and my "pleasant life".
C. They had gone so far into their careless delusions that Jesus could not even openly insist that they stop to consider what they had done.
1. There is a principle in the Scriptures that recognizes that true benefit must be very carefully pressed upon the carelessly deluded.
a. 1 Corinthians 3:2 tells us that Paul deliberately refrained from teaching certain truths because of the fragile condition of the hearers.
b. John 16:12 tells us that Jesus, even after a seven year effort with the Twelve, could not be openly frank with them.
2. There is another principle in the Scriptures that recognizes that true benefit requires the incremental development of "Truth".
a. The essence of the "the seed is the Word" concept is that Truth, just like a seed, must be planted and allowed to develop on its own pace.
b. The practical factors of all understanding rest upon the "line upon line, bit by bit" concept embraced by the reality of progressive revelation.
3. In our story, Jesus reveals His wisdom in His "acquiescence" in light of His purpose to "deliver".
a. On the one hand, there is an adamant insertion of "deliverance" no matter who gets "burned".
b. But on the other hand, requests by the "burned" are permitted without objection.
c. Jesus values "deliverance", but practices "acquiescence".
d. Jesus was very subtle in placing the "seed" in the midst of the deluded so that, over time, those deluded could be drawn to the light.
4. In our story, the Gerasenes are "greatly afraid": this is an indication of how far they had sunk into their delusions and was the reason Jesus backed off (He represented too great of a change to impose suddenly if "deliverance" was His goal).
II. The Origins of the Reaction of "the People".
A. "The People" were glad to see Him back.
1. Luke alone used the term translated "welcomed".
a. It is an intensified form of a verb that Jesus used in 9:48 with ties to the entrance into Eternal Life.
1) If one can obtain Eternal Life by the action of the verb, what can be the outcome of an intensive action of that sort?
2) Luke's "point" is that there was simply no objection to Jesus whatsoever in the minds of "the people".
b. It sets forth a deliberate contrast between the Galileans and the Gerasenes.
2. Luke was determined to show the foundations of the kind of "faith" that is necessary for any who are to walk with Jesus in Life.
a. The issue of "objections" is the issue of self-determination.
b. The issue of "self-determination" is the issue of the elevation of one's wisdom over all.
1) Wisdom's roots are in values.
2) Wisdom's practice is in the concepts of "Truth".
3) Personal wisdom retains the right of determining what is valuable and what is workable.
c. It is fundamentally impossible to walk by faith as long as the wisdom of God is being subject to the wisdom of man.
3. Luke also contrasted the "fear" of the Gerasenes with the "welcome" of the Galileans.
a. This was another aspect of his "faith" thesis: one cannot be moved by fear and live by faith.
b. This is the point of the combined stories.
B. "The People" had a "better" setting in Galilee than did the Gerasenes.
1. The "culture" of Galilee was steeped in law-keeping. It was enormously hypocritical, but it did, at least, give lip service to "right values".
2. Jesus' treatment of the people of Galilee had been significantly gracious in multitudes of healings and exorcisms.
a. When the "truth" does not matter a great deal to people, health and deliverance from oppression will always win them over.
b. Even though Jesus was aiming for the reestablishment of "Truth" by His gracious miracles, even those not interested in that agenda were plenty willing to take what He freely gave because of their perception of the good of what He did.
1) The perception was misleading in that it did not reveal the price of acceptance of the benefits without acceptance of the agenda (according to Luke 10:15, the price of dividing the benefits from the agenda is "Hades").
2) There is a universal "law" that "grace" does not override: Luke 12:48 declares that acceptance of "good" lays a heavy "obligation" upon the one accepting it.
a) This is not contrary to "grace".
b) Romans 1:14 clearly identifies Paul as a "debtor" because of the grace given to him.
c) 1 Corinthians 9:27 intensifies this attitude held by Paul.
i. Paul was the "apostle of the grace of God".
ii. He was not contradicting his own doctrine with this attitude.
iii. He understood grace as most of us do not.
c. The perception by the "welcoming committee" was ignorant, but it was real.
3. Jesus had not shown His attitude toward the economy of Galilee as He had toward that of the Gerasenes (when He did, He was put to death -- Mark 11:15).
III. The Point.
A. Jesus is being revealed as a wise Redeemer.
1. He presses His issues, but only so far.
2. He plants seed and awaits its incremental development.
B. Jesus is being revealed as One Who cannot be trusted as long as He is viewed with suspicion and caution.