Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 7 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1 June 22, 2008 Lincolnton, NC
1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
I. A Shift in Subject.
A. Having recorded his own edited version of Jesus' "words" on the mountain, Luke now turns to some "historical" narratives in order to bring certain truths into "focus".
B. Luke's use of a "centurion" (non-Jew) can be nothing other than deliberate.
C. From the "words" of Jesus, Luke turns to the most fundamental issue regarding them: "faith".
II. The "Problem": "Faith" Is A Huge Issue, Fraught With Many Particulars.
A. The "particulars" are introduced by Luke by means of the word "sayings".
1. This opening text of chapter seven is the thirteenth time (of eighteen overall) that Luke used this "particular" term. In the prior uses the focus is upon a certain statement of content -- a declaration of a truth -- that was "believed" in the sense that itbecame the foundation for some choice toact in a certain way.
a. Luke 5:5 is as clear an example of this as Luke records in the prior context. Peter did not give any evidence that he believed Jesus' command to let the nets down would accomplish anything significant, but he was willing to do as he was instructed anyway. The issue in this example is not "faith" in the typical sense of "expecting some positive result", but, rather, it is "faith" in the sense that "an action was taken because of the 'word' spoken." It does not seem to matter as much to God whether we "expect" what He will do as it matters to Him that we "act" on what He has said for us to do.
b. On a more "typical" note, Luke's records of Mary's reactions to "words" show a kind of "faith" that is rooted, not in "command", but in "promise".
1) Luke's first use of the word "saying" (the translators' choice in 7:1) is found in his record of Mary's visitation by Gabriel. He recorded Mary's puzzlement as to how she was to conceive "without a man" and Gabriel responds with "...with God 'nothing' (translators' poor choice for our word, "saying") shall be impossible." What Gabriel meant that the translators seem to have missed is this: when God says a "word" ("saying"), it does not matter how "impossible" it seems to His hearer(s); He will do what He has "said". The translators give the impression that "nothing shall be impossible with God" in the sense that "anything" is possible. But, the fact is that God did not commit Himself to "anything"; He committed Himself to the "particular" that He spoke and that "thing" will happen as He said.
2) Luke's other references to Mary in respect to "sayings" fall into line with this first reference. She consistently reacted in a positive way to particular statements that have been made.
c. Luke's uses of "sayings" solves a major "problem" for people in respect to the nonsense being dogmatically proclaimed by the "faith" promoters: we do not come up with the content of "faith". The faith promoters declare that if we come up with the content and "hold on to our faith in it", God will do what we "believe". He consistently frustrates this notion, but the promoters always have the "escape" that "you just didn't believe hard enough". It's either that or accuse God of lying. But, you cannot accuse someone of lying who did not say what was "believed". You can, however, accuse someone of lying if he/she dogmatically declares something to be true that is not.
2. An interesting point about Luke's record is this: the centurion was, apparently, not in the audience to whom Jesus spoke in His "sayings" upon the mountain. So, Luke's point is not that this Gentile soldier was responding to something he heard on that day. Rather, he has some other point to make. That "point" clearly has something to do with "great faith" on the part of a non-Jew who did not hear Jesus' "sayings" on the mountain.