Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 4 Study Notes
Luke 4:40-41 (1)
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1 December 3, 2006 Lincolnton, NC
40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
40 And when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41 And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
I. The Setting of the Sun.
A. The sabbath was over at sunset.
B. Luke's record deliberately brings into play the cultural/traditional lock-step "obedience" to the "religion's" interpretation of the commandment to observe the sabbath.
1. The record is clear that Jesus healed Simon's mother-in-law on the sabbath. This was, according to Mark 3:1-6, a very clear violation of the "religion's" interpretation of the requirements for the sabbath. It was, according to that interpretation, a capital crime. Luke 13:10-17 is Luke's record of the "religion's" position on the application of Sabbath Law to the issue of Jesus' healing.
2. It is ironic that the very people who were so steeped in the traditions that they would not violate them did, nonetheless, bring their afflicted to the One Who had no such scruples. Rather than let Jesus' lack of scruples tell them that He was a dangerous heretic and keep them from deliverance (which is what the "religion" wanted), they "played the game" by scrupulously observing the rules and seeking the deliverance the rules did not give them. This is religion at its worst: faking "commitment" while seeking the benefits of no commitment. This is the rationale for Jesus' angry reaction in Luke 13. What the people should have done was to come when they heard -- the Sabbath was made for man's benefit -- but they could not because they were too steeped in the God-is-an-eager-Judge mentality...a mentality foisted upon them by the doctrines of demons which were designed to keep them in bondage all of their lives.
C. The tension with which Luke is dealing is serious.
1. Anyone who is willing to sacrifice his "religion's" ideals for the sake of personal gain is in very serious danger because personal gain is revealed to be the "god" by that sacrifice.
2. On the other hand, anyone who is willing to buy into a "religion" that makes "rule-keeping" more important than the true welfare of the other participants involved in the mix is also in very serious danger because the "rule-keeping" reveals a "god" also: "the Glory".
3. The reality is that any "rules" that truly exist only exist as expressions of the Reality that Life flows according to their description of Reality. In other words, the "rules" are to be kept because they foster true life. Any "rules" that subject true life to something less are distortions of that Reality. Thus, all are in danger who seek the perks of Life without seeking the Life and who seek their own gain at the expense of someone else's loss. This means that the people were in danger for seeking health and deliverance at the expense of their own rules and the rulers were in danger for seeking their own glory at the expense of the people. It was into this mix that Jesus stepped.
4. Jesus' decision was to challenge both distortions. On the one hand, He dispensed the perks of Life willy-nilly with no consideration of whether the people wanted the Life, or just the perks, as a demonstration of the goodness of the Life-Giver so that, if possible, the "goodness" might attract the necessary "loyalty" [goodness leading to repentance]. And, on the other hand, He deliberately "broke the rules" when the perks of Life were helpful to the needy as a challenge to, and a judgment against, those who would subject the benefit of others to their own lust for status. He had more than the wisdom of Solomon so that He could do this legitimately. It is a complex problem because the human condition is both grave and seriously complicated. When is it "ok" to extend a benefit to someone who does not want Life (the danger is that they will become even more rotten than they already are by the grace given rather than being drawn into repentance), and when is it "ok" to break the rules because someone will benefit (the danger is that "benefit" will be re-defined downward so that "wants" are seen as "needs")?