Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 5 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 April 29, 2007 Lincolnton, NC
20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
1901 ASV Translation:
20 And seeing their faith, he said, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
I. The "Visibility" of Faith.
A. The issues...
1. What did they "believe"?
a. There is always a "content" to "faith".
1) The issue of "unspoken assumptions" makes a great deal of difference to the question of "content".
a) Illness in Israel was a "theological" issue because of the content of the covenant of the Law. It is abundantly clear from John 9:2, James 5:14-16; Acts 12:23 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 that there was, in the first century, a deeply embedded connection in the minds of people between physical illness and divine displeasure.
i. It is pretty much a "slam dunk" for us to conclude that anyone who wished for healing from an illness had to think in terms of "repentance" if they had any "hope" that God might "heal" them. Though there are always those who wish for healing without repentance, how many of that kind of person came to Jesus? And, there is also the question of whether Jesus was healing "because of faith" or "to make faith possible". It is highly likely that, at least in the beginning, Jesus did "signs", like John says, "that ye might believe", not because "ye have believed".
ii. This does, however, raise the question of whether "forgiveness" always preceded Jesus' acts of healing. When Jesus healed people, was He, in effect, extending forgiveness to them? Because He "healed" both to "engender" faith as well as "reward" faith, we cannot say that He always extended forgiveness prior to healing.
b) Instantaneoushealing was also a huge "theological" issue in the first century.
2) Prior conceptual content also makes a great deal of difference to the question of "immediate content".
a) When an author sets out to persuade his/her reader of a given thesis, the records of the "facts" are chosen for the purpose of establishing that thesis.
b) Luke's records of the statements about "Jesus", as well as his record of Jesus' statements about Himself, are highly prejudicial in terms of what the particular record is designed to establish. Luke simply would never have said that the "faith" of those in this record was "visible" if, in fact, there was no way to tell the content of that "faith".
c) It is clear from the "Nazareth" paragraph that Jesus refused to "do a mighty work" for them; Matthew says that it was because of "their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58); but Mark, who also acknowledges their unbelief (Mark 6:6) claimed that He did "heal a few sick folks".
d) Luke has already recorded the divine requirement for forgiveness: John came preaching a "baptism" of "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Luke 3:3) and Jesus submitted to that "baptism" as a deliberate act of personal identification with the message that God would forgive any who would repent.
b. There is always a limitation to the "visibility" to that content.
2. How was what they believed "visible"?
a. What Jesus saw included...
1) A group of men who were intent upon getting their friend to Jesus.
2) A group of men who knew they had no solution for their friend's problem except their ability to carry him to Jesus.
b. What Jesus concluded...
1) He concluded they had met the first requirement of "repentance": the awareness of personal inability.
2) He concluded they had met the second requirement of "repentance": the conviction that God would help them.
c. The issue of this paragraph is that "faith" is visible, but generally not until it runs into opposition.