Thesis:The ultimate issue of "faith" is its roots in "grace".
Introduction:In our study last week, we looked into Luke's revelation of a major issue: why "faith" is often not the response that people give to the words of God. We saw that when people are settled into an attitude of entitlement, "faith" is pretty much impossible. The reason for this is not hard: "faith" has to be in "the God of all grace" and most folks simply reject "grace" out of hand. The reason for the rejection is not hard either: the only realm in which "grace" functions is the realm of "lack of merit" and most folks deal with that by either contradicting it, or wallowing in it. In either case, the rejection blocks "faith".
This is no small matter. There is too much at stake for it to be ignored. All of our experience of the "Life" of God is tied to the issue of "faith" and where there is none, neither is there "Life". So, Luke deliberately spent a goodly portion of his effort in this chapter attempting to reveal both the outcome of faith and the hindrances to it.
Our study this morning is going to focus upon a portion of Jesus' actions in the face of unbelief so that we might consider whether we need to enter more fully into our understanding of the God of all grace.
I. The "Face" of Unbelief.
A. Is contorted by emotional upheaval.
1. There is a reason that Jesus answered, "Stop being afraid": fear is not only an expression of unbelief, it is an effective opponent of faith.
2. There is a reason that the mourners were "weeping" and "smiting themselves": these expressions of emotional upheaval are rooted in loss's contradiction of "love" and hopelessness of "faith".
3. There is a reason that, when contradicted in their "faith", the mourners "laughed at Him": silly expressions of emotion are humiliating.
4. Emotion is a potent seductress.
a. Emotion is the essence of both "Life" and "Death".
b. Emotion, however, is not the root of "Life" or "Death".
c. Emotion, coupled to man's fallen state, seeks to be "the God of Life" and gives place to reason only with great reluctance.
B. Has an enormous "body" floating beneath the visible surface.
1. There is a reason for Luke 24:25: it is "mindless" to be on the way to Emmaus and Jesus calls that "reason" being "slow of heart to believe" the words of God.
2. That the disciples could be so "mindless" testifies to the vastness of the submerged reality.
II. Luke's Record of Jesus' Exclusiveness.
A. Luke told us that Jesus refused to permit the majority of the involved people to enter with Him into the place where the child lay.
1. Jesus never did anything "mindlessly", so He had to have had reasons for this refusal, especially since He did not do this in Nain.
2. Luke did not record anything "mindlessly", so he had to have had reasons for including this in his record.
B. Luke told us who was permitted to accompany Jesus into the room.
1. Peter, John, and James were selected out of The Twelve.
2. The father of the child and the mother were allowed within.
C. Luke leaves us to wonder, and to seek his record, for any reasons for this action by Jesus.
1. That Jesus allowed "the father of the child and the mother" is not difficult to understand: it was their house, and they were "the parents" (verse 56).
2. That Jesus "favored" Peter, John, and James above the other nine is harder to grasp.
a. Luke 22:24 tells us that a large part of the disciples' submerged reality consisted of a powerful desire to be "greater than" others.
b. Jesus' "favoritism" could not possibly be looked upon with acceptance by the "nine" (Mark 10:41).
c. The exclusion by Jesus was an open door for the development of greater unbelief.
1) That Jesus told the emotional crowd that their emotion was wasted allowed a certain degree of second-guessing after the fact and allowed unbelief to survive.
2) That Jesus selected three of The Twelve set the stage for the three to exalt themselves and for the nine to be resentful -- if they decided to go there.
3. That Luke deliberately described Jairus and the woman with terms that made them look "ugly" is highly instructive.
a. Luke's entire "point" is "faith in grace".
b. If one allows "grace" to begin to dominate the submerged reality, two things will begin to occur.
1) There will be a diminishing of the drive to be "greater" because "grace" disallows "greatness" in the sense that drives fallen men.
a) This will diminish posturing and hypocrisy.
b) This will foster harmony rather than conflict.
2) There will be a growing comfort with whatever Jesus decides to do because all that He decides to do is governed by "grace".
a) This will temper emotion and keep it in its place.
b) This will produce greater faith as the outcome of the overthrow of emotion's intent to be Queen.