Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 7 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 August 31, 2008 Lincolnton, NC
21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
1901 ASV Translation:
21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and on many that were blind he bestowed sight.
22 And he answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things which ye have seen and heard; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good tidings preached to them.
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me.
I. In That Very Hour ...
A. With no emphasis whatsoever on the "qualifications" of those "cured", Jesus did "many" works of power.
1. For those today who loudly proclaim the desire of God to heal the physically distressed, this is a problem. The "excuse" these false purveyors of deceit always make when the distressed gets no relief is "You did not 'believe'", or "You did not have enough faith." In the records of the Gospels, Jesus often did works of power with no consideration for whether the person "believed" in Him. More times than not, He did what He did to get them to "believe" after He had done the work.
2. There is every indication in this text that Jesus did what He did to the many for John's (unbelieving) sake. As is typical with men who care not for Truth, the modern day "healers" put the cart before the horse. They attempt to generate "faith" so that "healing" can come, but Jesus "healed" that "faith" could come.
B. The fact that Jesus cured many "in that hour" means at least one thing: there were "many" afflicted within His reach "in that hour". It would not be a stretch to say that there were always "many" afflicted within His reach -- because He had a reputation for healings and exorcisms. It is the nature of the masses to flock to any/every one who develops this kind of reputation. [Note Luke's record of the people of Capernaum in 4:40-41] People will do just about anything to obtain healing if their distress is significant.
1. There is, in this observation, this reality: Jesus, apparently, did not "cure" everyone who came to Him in the crowds, nor did it "matter" to the issue of their "healing" whether they "believed" or not [note John's record of the sisters of Lazarus, who sent to Jesus "in faith" and He deliberately remained where He was until Lazarus died: John 11:4-6]. The fact is this: Jesus did what He did with no "faith/unbelief" constraints and what men wanted Him to do was never the ultimate consideration. Jesus said that He did "what He seeth the Father doing" (John 5:19). The issue was always what men needed Him to do so that they might fit into the Father's Plan.
2. The truth of the matter is this: physical health does not promote spiritual health and the spiritually healthy do not need physical health to live in the glorious freedom of the children of God. In fact, it is often the case that physical distress leads to spiritual deliverance. Again, men put the cart before the horse.
II. He Cured Many of Their Infirmities ...
A. The list of the works He did differs from the list He gave the disciples of John to report.
1. Luke says He healed many from ...
b. Scourges (things that "whip").
c. Evil spirits.
d. Blindness ("many blind ones He 'graced' [freely gave the ability] to see").
2. Jesus says to report that ...
a. Blind ones see again.
b. Lame ones walk.
c. Lepers are cleansed.
d. Deaf ones hear.
e. Dead ones are raised.
f. Poor ones have the Gospel proclaimed to them.
3. Jesus completely ignores the "demoniac" issues and puts "blindness" at the top of the list. He told the disciples of John to "announce" that the poor have the good news "announced" to them.
B. There is no doubt that Jesus' activities "in that very hour" were "works of power".
1. John had raised the question of whether Jesus was "the Coming One", but he, himself, had said that "the Coming One" was to be "the Mighty One" (Luke 3:16).
2. That Jesus chose to do "mighty" works in the presence of John's messengers is only His condescension to John's need.
a. John was in prison and, apparently, in need of reassurance.
b. Jesus did not "say" what John needed to hear, He "did" what John needed to hear. It would have been easy enough for Jesus to simply tell John's men, "Yes, I am He that cometh." But neither Jesus, nor His Father, typically take the "easy" approach. Rather they seek to really "cure" what ails man and that is often a far deeper wound than the "easy" way will fix.
1) John was a man "filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb".
2) John was a "prophet" of the Most High God.
3) John had been told that "the One" would be indicated to him by the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove (John 1:33).
4) John had preached that Jesus was "the One".
5) Clearly, John's "need" was not "superficial", requiring an "easy" response.
C. This activity fits into the category of "high divine thoughts" that transcend the thoughts of men beyond measure (Isaiah 55:9).
III. He Told John's Messengers to 'Tell Him' ...
A. Even yet, John only gets "words" from his messengers. He does not "see" the actions; He does not "participate" in the works; He is yet in prison with only "words" with which to deal when his men return to him.
B. At some point, men are going to have to deal with the bottom line: thewitness. Few are the men who actually participate in a five-senses level in the major "truths". Most of the vast multitudes simply "hear" and must "decide" what to do with what they hear. "Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29).
1. One of the strengths of "the witness" is that it is heavily rooted in "logic" or "right thinking". Isaiah had set the tone early by declaring the might of Messiah in terms of many of the works that Jesus did (Isaiah 35:5-6) and fulfilled prophecy is the most potent "logical" argument in Scripture for the identity of Jesus.
2. Of course there is also the reality that God underwrites His own plans for the faith of men so that "logic" or not, they believe who are under His direct oversight in respect to "faith".