Thesis:Luke's "next day" thesis deliberately contrasts his records of "great faith in a great identity" and "a great failure of faith in spite of Jesus' identity".
Introduction: Having seen the divine presentation of Jesus as the King of the Eternal Kingdom of the one and only true God in Luke 9:28-36, we now come to Luke's next record of the King's activity.
The first fact with which Luke confronts us in this new record is that on "the next day" Jesus is faced with a major failure by The Nine. Because Luke is the only writer of the New Testament to use the word translated "next" and because he, himself, only used it in this Gospel twice, we are summoned to a degree of caution in our approach to what he tells us "next".
I. The Record in Its Context.
A. In the larger picture, created by the chapter, we know that this "failure" cannot be allowed to stand.
1. The chapter began with Jesus actually giving The Twelve the authority and responsibility of the task for which He had been given authority and responsibility.
a. This is the beginning of the passing of the baton of the development of the Kingdom of God.
1) This beginning was revealed to be a major aspect of the overall Plan by the fact that not only was the Son of Man to be rejected, slain, and raised from the dead (9:22), but that those who would be His disciples were going to have to buy into the same process (9:23).
2) Because the long-term development of the Plan had its roots in this "process", this "beginning" could not be allowed to "fail".
b. This beginning is fundamentally rooted in two equally important truths.
1) On the one hand, it is only by the authority of Jesus that the process moves forward.
2) On the other hand, that required authority was given to those who were to be the next generation's executors of the Plan.
a) The gift, however, did not alter the fact that what was given was unchanged by the transfer: it was still the authority of Jesus and would never be the authority of those given the right to exercise it.
i. A serious level of misunderstanding of this truth is the reason for the failure of The Nine (9:40).
ii. Beneath this misunderstanding stands one potent fact: the authority is not only Jesus' alone; it cannot be used for anything but genuine Kingdom purposes (as soon as it is applied to a false agenda, those making the attempt fail).
b) The extension of the authority by Jesus was not extended as simply "an option" for The Twelve.
2. The next chapter begins with Jesus doing the same thing with "seventy".
a. This signals the fact that chapter nine is not an anomaly, but a revelation of the pattern.
b. Paul extends our understanding of the fact that the pattern is an integrated part of The Plan in 2 Timothy 2:2.
3. Thus, the failure cannot be allowed to stand.
B. In the closer context we find evidence that the reality is that few ever come to grips with the most basic underlying truth.
1. That "The Twelve" were only beginning to understand what "the multitude" did not is evidence that The Plan never rests upon the "faith" of the masses.
2. That there were Three among The Twelve that were not included in the recorded failure is further evidence that The Plan never rests upon the "faith" of many.
3. That even The Three were so blind to the truth that the Father had to address them is even more evidence that The Plan never rests upon the "faith" of those who think they have it but upon the "faith" of those whose focus remains upon Jesus alone.
4. That the most basic underlying truth is seldom grasped is even more evidence.
II. The Record as a "Next Day" Event.
A. The only other reference to a "next day" kind of context in Luke is 7:11.
B. The setting of the Luke 7 "next day" context has four major elements.
1. First, the "next day" ties the "faith of the Centurion" to the "raising of the dead son" of Nain.
2. Second, the "tied" records immediately follow Jesus' declaration that all who hear Him (as the Father demanded on the mountain) and do what He says are like builders whose work stands and those who refuse to hear are like fools who build on sand.
3. Third, the pattern of truth for both "next days" is seen by a simple flip-flop of the records.
a. In Luke 7, a "faith" that is greater than that found in all Israel is followed by a demonstration of just how legitimate that "faith" is.
b. In Luke 9, the "unbelief" of the multitude and The Nine is preceded by a demonstration of just how illegitimate that "unbelief" is.
4. Fourth, the issue of both contexts is the same: understanding the "authority" issue, or not.
a. The point of the "great faith" of the Roman man of war was that he understood the "authority" issue.
b. The point of the "failure of faith" by The Nine is that they did not understand the "authority" issue.
III. The Record as an "Authority" Issue.
A. In Luke 7, the "faith in authority" issue is presented first and the issue of "love for the Executor of the authority" is presented as a finale.
B. This early, prejudicial material establishes the two points made earlier.
1. The authority never ceases to be Jesus' even though He grants it to be used by those willing to press His agenda.
2. The authority is never successfully used without the "love" behind the agenda.
C. In Luke 9 these issues are pressed to their roots.
1. The "faith" must be in the One raised on the third day.
2. The "love" must be for the One put to death.
3. The conclusion: Jesus died for the Church before He was raised and no one is going to "get away with" anything less.