Thesis:In order to actually serve God, men have to be brought to real values and honest language.
Introduction: Our studies of Luke 9 have revolved around the fact that the chapter begins with Jesus sending The Twelve out to do what they have, to this point, only watched Him do. That Luke 10 begins with a very similar action on Jesus' part indicates that the last words of Luke 9 are to be taken very seriously: "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." That we have been seeing (in our current focus of study in the paragraph regarding some seeing that very Kingdom) that Luke has been presenting Jesus as the Exodus-Passover-Shekinah (Protector/Provider) indicates that the "looking back" of 9:62 may well have been linked to the behavior of the Israelites who perished in the wilderness because they kept whining about how good they had it in Egypt in contrast to their situation in the wilderness (Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:5 and 20; 21:5 and Ps. 106:14).
Given this probability, the text before us this morning is highly instructive. In it we have Luke's record of what I have chosen to call "Peter's Nonsense". Luke's record is a continuation of what I proposed last week: that Luke is showing us how profound is God's commitment to bring us to the Kingdom by showing us what He must, and does, address: men living in contradiction to the essence of His universe; the presence of the extremely deceptive in view of the necessity of "faith"; and men's subjugation to "sleep" when being awake is critical. There is another set of problems. These are the focus of Luke's record of Peter's ignorant words and the focus of our study this morning.
I. Working Backwards in 9:33 We See Luke's Statement of Peter's Nonsense.
A. Luke pointedly said that Peter "had no clue" as to what he was saying.
B. Luke clearly meant that Peter's ignorance was not of his "words", nor of his own meaning for them, but of the reality against which they bounced.
C. Luke's record of Peter's "spontaneous", "off the wall" motor-mouthing is a record of a man who revealed his "heart" while being clueless about how perverted it was.
1. It was in 6:45 that we read, "... of the abundance of the heart [a man's] mouth speaketh."
a. This was immediately after Jesus' charge of deep hypocrisy (6:42-45).
b. This was immediately before Jesus' question, "Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?".
2. Luke's "point" in this part of his record is to show us the difficulties God faces in bringing men to His Kingdom.
II. Continuing to Work Backwards in 9:33 We See Peter Proposing to Build Three Tabernacles.
A. This proposition had to have had some meaning in Peter's heart.
1. To understand what Peter held in his heart, we need to understand his use of words.
2. The issue of a "tabernacle".
a. Was probably rooted in the overheard conversation about an "Exodus" in the light of the Light he was seeing: Leviticus 23:43.
b. Was, doubtlessly, rooted in the meaning of "tabernacle" (often translated "booth" in the AV of the Old Testament).
1) Understanding that meaning, for us, begins in Hebrews 9:2-3.
a) In this text we can easily see that a "tabernacle" was a place where certain items or people "lived".
b) In this text we can easily see that the sense of a "tabernacle" as a "tent" could recede in one's attention.
2) Understanding that meaning continues in Hebrews 11:9.
a) In this text we can easily see that a "tabernacle" was a temporary abode while one lived in a "strange country" while looking for a "solidly founded city".
b) In this text we can also easily see that one's view of a "tabernacle" was deeply colored by one's "faith".
3) Understanding that meaning continues in Genesis 33:17, Nehemiah 8, and Jonah 4:5.
a) In these texts we see that a "tabernacle" was not so identified by the materials by which it was constructed.
b) In these texts we see that a "tabernacle" was so identified because of the protection it provided from the "elements" (sun, rain, cold, etc.).
c. Had, clearly, moved in Peter's perception to some form of "memorializing".
1) The text tells us that Peter made his comments while the two were departing from Jesus -- indicating that he didn't expect them to "live" there.
2) Peter's comments had to have had some kind of "recognition" and "appreciation" in view.
3) Peter's view was an outgrowth of the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles was a "memorializing" practice and of the fact that most people now lived in houses.
d. Had, thus, been subverted in Peter's thinking to the very opposite of what should have been.
1) The "event" was a "passing" thing and was not to be "held onto" (the essence of a tabernacle was its transitory nature).
2) But, more subversive, was the exaltation of the "glory" to the diminishing of its true significance [Note Matthew 23:16-17].
B. Therefore we can conclude that Peter's thoughtless outburst revealed just how committed he was to transforming the truth into something comfortable for himself.
III. Continuing to Work Backwards in 9:33 We See Peter Calling Jesus "Master".
A. Luke is the only writer of the New Testament to use this particular term.
B. This term's initial meaning was "someone who stands above others".
C. But Luke's use is consistent in its revelation of man's (particularly Peter's) upsidedown world.
1. We find his first use at 5:5 where we read of Jesus' command to Peter to lower his nets to catch fish and of Peter's obvious reluctance prefaced by "Master...".
a. This is anomalous because it is inconsistent to "object" to a "Master", or to object to the direction of a "Leader".
b. It is clear that Peter does not think of Jesus as a "Master".
2. The next use is a two-fold repetition in 8:24 where panic stricken disciples awaken a sleeping Jesus because they are terrified by a storm that is filling their boat with water.
a. In this setting Jesus asks them, "Where is your faith?".
b. Jesus' question clearly implies that their view of Him as "Master" ought to have reached to the elements but did not.
3. Then, in 8:45 we have the same word in the mouth of Peter (again) and he is expressing his incredulity at Jesus for His "foolish" question.
4. In 9:49 John used the word to inform Jesus of how "we" were throwing our weight around "in Jesus' name" (being "masters") and Jesus refuses to let him get away with it.
5. The last use is found in 17:13 and it runs true to form: people using the word without any real sense of its meaning: ten lepers seeking cleansing from the "Master", but only the Samaritan among them turning back to give Jesus thanks once the "Master" had given them such a great boon.
6. Conclusion: it is clearly within Luke's intention to show that the disciples in general, and Peter specifically, have an extremely superficial grasp of Jesus' identity and have no clue in regard to their use of "words".