Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 4 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 12 October 15, 2006 Lincolnton, NC
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
1901 ASV Translation:
28 And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things;
29 and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way.
I. The Wrath of Nazareth.
A. Underlying the entire issue of "wrath" is the question of "Why?".
1. The English translations often do not make the distinctions that are necessary between what are called synonyms. The word for "wrath" in this text is the word for a sudden anger. It is not the same word as in Romans 1:18.
2. Both God and men get "angry". It is an aspect of their "glory".
3. But, as an aspect of their glory, "anger" needs a "reason". What is the "glory" that leads to a sudden outburst of destructive anger?
4. The word Luke chose to use to describe the reaction is used in the New Testament to describe an attitude that carries an intention to destroy along with it. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says it started out as a description of "being moved into action". It also claims that there is no "material difference" between it and a similar word that is also translated by both "anger" and "wrath", but I think this claim is erroneous. The word translated "wrath" in this text tends to be used of "a flash of motivation to inflict pain", whereas the word that Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says is not "materially distinct" tends to be "a settled disposition to inflict vengence". This "flash" of motivation to destroy Jesus is clear in the text. But, the "flash" itself indicates a simmering undercurrent of tenaciously held "values" and "beliefs".
5. Thus, we can answer the question as to "Why?" by seeing the strength of the "values" held. If a value is held with any tenacity, it is particularly the focal point when another, contrary, value is pressed upon the holder. No "value" is held with tenacity and given up easily. Only the matters of "lesser value" are allowed to slide by when "conflict" is brought into the situation. Values-in-conflict is the very heart of the mess in which the present creation is found. The "essence" of Death is conflict; the "essence" of the mystery of godliness is how "conflict" is eliminated without eliminating opposite values. Judgment and Grace are opposite values; Love and Hate are also. Thus, either God does not possess these opposites, or He maintains them in perfect balance without conflict. Since "opposites" exist, they must exist in God. Even "sin" is probably nothing more than the absence of the balance needful to maintain harmony. And, at the root of this "harmonious balance" is the "personal" issue: persons are the "valued" commodity. In God, harmony between persons is a bottom line kind of value. The Islamic conception is that God does not have multiplicity of personality, so harmony between persons can be resolved by brute force and elimination of all persons who do not toe the Person's line. But the Christian conception is that God exists in plurality of personality so that there is no ability to "eliminate persons"; there is only the ability to address potential conflict with a willingness to bring balance into the picture. So, the Islamist is left with a "deity" that has no "competing" values. There is no mercy because all is justice. There is no love because all is hatred. Islam's "god" is, of necessity, stripped of all "opposites" so that there is a reductionist version of deity without half of the attributes of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6. So, what were the "values" held in Nazareth that sparked such a hot flash of murderous rage?
a. What did Jesus say that sparked the rage?
1) He said that He was fully aware of their hostility.
2) He said that their hostility was rooted in apostasy.
b. What is the "rationale" for "murderous rage" because of an accusation of apostasy?
1) If it is not a true accusation, the facts will bear out the falseness of the charge.
2) If it is a true accusation, genuine repentance is in order in light of the grace-based promise of "redemption for snakes".
c. What does the murderous rage indicate?
1) The essence of John's preparatory message was "You are snakes" who use your poison for self-protection as well as self-provision.
2) Murderous rage is nothing if it is not the use of poison to destroy; and for what? Jesus made an accusation. He was not threatening them with physical violence. There is no justification for their rage in any sense of "justice" (which is where we get our idea of "justification"). Thus, the injustice only proved that Jesus was right. In this, Jesus was in absolute harmony in His message with John. John's "You are snakes in need of regeneration" was just as much an accusation of apostasy as Jesus' comments in this text. He simply used a different set of words to say it.