Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 5 Message Outlines
Luke 5:12-16 (1)
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1 March 4, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(326)Thesis:Living with ambiguity is a major challenge.
Introduction:As we turn to our Bibles this morning, we turn to a new record of Jesus' works. Luke 5:12-16 is a record of Jesus' response to the entreaty of a leper. Leprosy had its place on the cultural stage in the first century as that generation's equivalent of AIDS. It was communicable, gradually destructive, incurable, and considered to be a judgment from God. Anyone who had it was forced to deal with all of these aspects of it at every level -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So, for Luke to immediately turn from Jesus' acquisition of disciples to Jesus' healing of a leper probably means something significant. This morning we are going to begin a consideration of the record of the cleansing of this leper.
I. The Significance of the Cleansing in General Terms.
A. On the one hand, as a Kinsman-Redeemer Who was operating within the context of the Land Covenant, Jesus' cleansing of a leper was a highly visible demonstration of His ability to produce Kingdom conditions.
1. That He was able to do this was a crucial requirement of His identify.
2. That He demonstrated His ability was a crucial requirement for His accomplishment: the Kingdom cannot exist where people do not believe, and legitimate faith does not exist where there is no foundation for it.
B. On the other hand, as a Kinsman-Redeemer Who was operating within the context of the Land Covenant undertheLawofMoses, Jesus' cleansing of a leper was a highly visible demonstration of the character-focus about God that is required for those who will participate in the Kingdom.
1. It is a major thesis for Luke that God must be seen in respect to a primary orientation toward grace if people are going to ever be able to move out of the fear setting into Life.
2. Grace that is mostly demonstrated in settings where human merit can be figured into the equation is typically distorted from its essence (Take careful note of Luke 7:4-5 in the context of 7:1-10 and answer this question: Why is it that every time a sermon is preached about some great benefit that God does for someone, there is an almost knee-jerk characterization of the recipient as "worthy"? "Preacher, would you pray for rain?").
II. The Significance of the Cleansing in the Details of the Record.
A. The mostsignificant "theme" that runs through this record is that of "ambiguity".
1. For Luke to not tell us the name of the city, nor the name of the leper, is somewhat of a shock.
a. Luke has been meticulous about making sure his record can be validated.
1) Note 1:3-4 because it indicates that Luke thought Theophilus needed the details as well as the validation.
2) Note 3:1-2 because it seems to go on and on before the real issue is brought into focus.
b. The story before us cannot be "researched" and "validated".
c. This means that Luke deliberately makes "ambiguity" a matter of his "intention".
2. Note the leper's declaration in his appeal.
a. There is no sense that Jesus "cannot".
b. There is a significant sense that Jesus may not be "willing".
c. The leper's "problem" is "ambiguity".
3. Note Jesus' deliberately restrictive and focused charge.
a. How did He think that His charge was to be carried out?
b. What did He think would happen with the priest?
4. Note the total failure.
a. In 5:15 the record is the opposite of what Jesus wanted.
b. In 5:17 and following the record is the opposite of what Jesus wanted.
5. Note Jesus' behavior as a major contrast to every other man's methods.
6. No matter where we turn in this paragraph, "ambiguity" reigns.
B. The mostsignificant "connection" that this record has is its immediate proximity to Jesus' acquisition of "disciples".
1. The prior undercurrent to the "disciple" issue has been "rejection".
a. Luke's first record of Jesus' "ministry" was His rejection by the Nazarenes.
b. The immediate consequence of His first "ministry" in Capernaum is the demon's "rejection" of the "Nazarene".
c. The people of Capernaum were presented as fundamentally too self-focused to embrace His "ministry" as "for others".
2. The major issue of "discipleship" is not whether people will be persuaded by the radical outpouring of benefits to jump on the bandwagon of "being a disciple of Jesus"; it is whether they will continue to be such when "ambiguity" sets in and their own agendas begin to be denied.
a. It is no accident that the most obvious stumbling block to "disciples" is their Lord's "unwillingness" to meet their desires.
1) Note the impact of the cleansing upon us as a question of application: if the leper could obtain cleansing from Jesus, why can we not get what we want from Him?
2) Note the fact that invariably, when a person alters course in terms of fidelity to Jesus, the reason is an event where the person did not get what he/she wanted and decided to "get even" by walking away from the commitment.
b. It makes a great deal of sense for Luke to deliberately set the issue of "ambiguity" forth as soon as the discipleship issue has been set forth.
III. The Point: Discipleship is About Following, Not Dictating.
A. People are forever attempting to blame their hostility toward God upon God's "failures".
B. But the plain fact is that it is not "discipleship" to come into the loyalty issue with a set of "conditions".