Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 4 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3 December 17, 2006 Lincolnton, NC
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:
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 Question: Why Did Jesus "Suffer Them Not to Speak" and Luke Record What They Had to Say?
A. Clearly Jesus did not want them "identifying" Him. But, there is a potent irony here: Jesus would not permit them to speak and by His dominion over them He actually established the very thing their "speech" declared. They wanted to verbally identify Him as the Christ, the Son of God and He, by refusing to permit it, established Himself as the "Authority" -- the Christ, the Son of God.
B. Just as clearly Luke did want their "witness".
C. What caused this difference?
1. Jesus was in the actual historical setting. He may well have been "building" His reputation as the need required. In effect, He was involved in "evangelism".
2. Luke is recording that setting at a later point. The water is already under the bridge at this point and no "building" is necessary. Luke was not writing to people who did not believe: Theophilus was already a "believer". In effect, he was involved in "edification".
II. Why Did the Demons Identify Him?
A. Acts 16:16-18 indicates that this was a "favorite" ploy of the demons. This text tells us that Paul was significantly irritated by it and exorcised the demon.
B. Luke's initial intro into this issue (Luke 4:33-35) has the demon identifying Jesus as "the Holy One of God" and Jesus demands that he be silent.
C. It is a question of "intent".
1. The demons could not have desired the redemption of the people.
2. The demons were as aggressive as they could be in the prevention of people being saved. They are instrumental in developing "doctrines" that are designed to lead people into the darkness (1 Timothy 4:1).
D. It is a question of "method".
1. There is this reality: people are significantly influenced to "react" to what they hear by the "character" of those from whom they hear. The Gospel is often rejected because the messenger is blatantly hypocritical. Why would God "set John the Baptizer up" with the Holy Spirit "from his mother's womb" if, in fact, the quality of the life of the messenger is not a significant factor? Does not 1 Corinthians 15:34 demand that we understand that the quality of our example has an impact upon those to whom we preach?
2. The demons know the chaos they produce and the impact that chaos has. Thus, their identification of Jesus, intended to muddy the water, was a deliberate method of saying true things in a setting where they were not likely to be believed. Even getting the religious establishment to identify Jesus as a demonized person was a demonic deception designed to cause revulsion toward Him by the people.
E. It is also a matter of "content".
1. To be identified as "the Son of the God" was to be identified as deity.
2. Luke "interprets" the phrase to mean "the Christ".
3. The identification pressed the issue of "authority", but in a direction designed to complicate "faith".
a. There can be no doubt that "God" was already a despised Person within that culture.
1) It is true that people flocked to John as a prophet of "the God".
2) It is just as true that certain people mounted a campaign of opposition to John's identity as such a prophet.
3) Most people are blind to their antagonism toward God and do not go around claiming to hate Him. They simply disobey and resist Him on a regular basis.
b. To be identified with "the God" was to be put into the same "box".
III. Why Did Luke Record These Things?
A. It is important that we understand that the demons did know who Jesus was and that Jesus did not want them identifying Him.
1. On the one hand, it is significant that the demons knew who Jesus was. They do have a range of knowledge that is beyond that of humans. If their knowledge can be revealed without the complication of their chaos, it can have a beneficial impact.
2. On the other hand, it is significant that Jesus did not permit the "complications of the chaos" to run unhindered. He revealed an absolute dominion over the demons that has to be considered by anyone who would know the truth about Him. This dominion reached even to their ability to speak. Because of this, Jesus' dominion had a far greater impact than their "testimony" regarding Him. And the fact that Jesus did not want their testimony signals His clear understanding of these "impact" issues.
B. The record of Luke blends the best of both realities.
1. He was able, as a historian, to record what the demons knew was true. It is not insignificant that the demons knew that Jesus is the Son of God...the Christ.
2. He was also able, as a historian, to record the absolute dominion Jesus exercised.
C. Luke's "intention" was to provide "proof" for "faith" -- that those who read his words might have 'reasons' to continue to believe.
1. His was not an "evangelistic" effort; it was "edificational". "Faith" is not initiated by "reason", but "reason" is a bulwark for the faith in the conflict. Truth is not embraced because of "reason", but, for those who are willing to be believing, reason is a handmaid to help the resistance against unbelief. The lies of the adversary chip away at the faith of the saints and truth builds a bulwark against that process.
2. The "problem" is not the beginning of faith; it is the continuation of it over the long haul.