Thesis:At some point every believer has to cease being "one of the crowd" if he/she intends to become a participant in Life.
Introduction: In our studies of Luke's arguments that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of Man Who came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), we have seen that Luke had determined to zero in upon the issue of "authority". In 4:6 he presented Jesus as being tempted with the offer of a vast authority. In 4:32 and 36 he described the impact of Jesus' initial foray into ministry in Capernaum in terms of a kind of "authority" that was evidenced in words and an exorcism. In 5:24 he said that Jesus healed a man who had been let down through a hole made in the roof so that people would know that He has the authority to forgive sins -- the most significant "authority" in the universe according to 12:5. In the opening paragraph of chapter seven he recorded the event of the centurion's "greater faith than all that found in Israel" as the first "bookend" of a chapter dedicated to answer the question of how a man can build upon a solid foundation so that his "house" is unaffected by the flood waters. The focus of that paragraph is upon a man's believing response to the issue of "authority". After that, Luke left the "authority" issue alone until 9:1. The point is: the failure of The Nine in the paragraph before us this morning was a frontal assault on the issue of "faith" in Jesus' "authority".
This morning we are going to consider the part of Luke's message that swirls around "a man of the crowd" so that we may see Luke's summons to Theophilus to cease being such. At some point every believer has to cease being "one of the crowd" if he/she intends to become a participant in Life.
I. The Problems Associated With Being "One of the Crowd".
A. Evidence that Luke intended Theophilus to tie the "crowd" issues together.
1. In 9:11, 12, and 16 Luke used the term "crowd" to describe those who were fed by Jesus in one of the few events considered by all four Gospel writers to be of such significance to include it in their records.
2. Then, in 9:18 he used that exact term to raise the question of what people were deciding about this One Whose "authority" transcends illnesses and demons and reaches all the way to "forgiveness".
3. In 9:37 and 38 he used the same term to set the stage for his subtle appeal to Theophilus.
4. Additionally, Luke used the same setting in 9:18's focus upon the conclusions to which the "crowd" was coming as in the current setting of 9:28's demonstration of just how wrong that crowd was.
B. Evidence that Luke Intended Theophilus to understand what being "one of the crowd" actually means.
1. The failure of "the crowd" in the earlier segment of this chapter was a failure to grasp the significance of "authority" as it related to Jesus' abilities in respect to the physical creation.
2. The failure of "the crowd" in this current segment is a failure to grasp the significance of "authority" as it relates to Jesus' abilities in respect to the spiritual creation.
a. This "failure" consists of several factors.
1) It is a "failure" to understand the linkage between Jesus' realms of "authority".
a) The father's plaintive cry is that his demon-tormented son is his only begotten (this only shows up in Luke's records at 7:12 at Nain and 8:42 in Jairus' home).
i. This is a revelation of potent attachment.
ii. But it is also a revelation of a most significant corruption because it is in direct conflict with the Love of the Father in regard to His "only begotten" (note 1 John 4:9-11).
b) As a revelation it reveals man's consistent separation of the realms of "authority" as this father exalts his son's physical condition over the problems of not having experienced the "authority" of the Son of Man to forgive sins.
i. The man's household lived daily within the regions of Death and the man is consumed with the physical consequences.
ii. This is a powerful preventative to any kind of lasting solution.
2) It is a "failure" of "faith".
a) Jesus' reaction is to nail the "generation" for its "faithlessness".
b) It is true that the greater problem is one of "love", but without "faith" that greater problem will never be solved.
3) It is a "failure" of "commitment to truth".
a) Jesus' reaction included a declaration that the "generation" was "perverse".
b) The problem of "perversity" is the problem of being unwilling to face the Truth without hedging.
b. This "failure" extended to the "smaller" crowd, identified as The Nine.
1) Luke deliberately described the "disciples" as a smaller "crowd" who had been "rendered powerless".
2) Luke is simply making his point: if one is to be an active participant in Life, he/she will have to determine to separate himself/herself from the "herd mentality" and commit to seeking God's solution to perversity and unbelief.
II. Luke's Sharp-Edged Sword.
A. Theophilus is being confronted with the failed values and beliefs of those who are caught up in chasing the wrong dreams.
B. Luke is presenting Jesus as unyielding on the point: no one participates significantly in Life unless, or until, he/she divests himself/herself of every attachment that competes with the Love and Truth of the Father.