Thesis:Luke deliberately chose to record Jesus' gracious response to the undeserving so that it might be clear what "grace" is like.
Introduction:In our initial study of this text, we saw that Luke's "point" seems to be that "faith" in Jesus requires a "no-objections" embrace of Him. This appears to be the reason for the deliberate contrast between the attitudes of the Gadarenes and those of Galilee because the "point" of this last extended text before Jesus commissions His disciples to go forth into the ministry is that effective ministry demands "faith". Thus, not only is it imminently "logical" that "faith" requires a "no-objections" embrace of Jesus (how can one trust anyone with whom they have "reservations"?), it is actually Luke's "point".
Now, there is another "problem" area for "faith". Inner reservations will destroy any real faith, but so also will another factor. That "other factor" is given its foundations for our understanding by Luke in the words that are used to introduce the next major demonstration by Jesus that He is actually trustworthy. So, this morning we are going to look into this "other factor".
I. The Facts Luke Chose to Reveal Regarding the Next Object of Jesus' Power.
A. There are two prejudicial facts that give boundaries to our understanding.
1. The first is the large issue of Jesus' qualification for being the "Redeemer".
a. Redemption is the most crucial, initial issue before all mankind.
b. To "believe" in a Redeemer, one must have a legitimate basis beyond "need" or "desire".
c. Luke's argument has, from the beginning, been that Jesus "qualifies" because He was introduced by a recognized prophet from God in terms of His "mightiness".
d. The "might" of Jesus is demonstrably unassailable and the present record simply stacks up more evidence.
2. The second is the particular issue of Jesus' demand of Jairus and his wife that they "tell no man what was done".
a. This is so counter to both expectation and context that we simply cannot dismiss the question that such a demand raises.
b. The question is not hard: Why in the world would Jesus do such a large and powerful act in privacy and then refuse to allow the witnesses to tell about it?
c. This inquiry is intensified by the previous like-miracle of 7:11-17.
d. There simply has to be a "reason" for an overt and public "resuscitation of the dead" to be coupled to a private and "silence-demanded" "ditto action".
1) One of the possibilities is the "scorn" of those without (8:53).
2) But a greater probability is the difficulty of Jesus' identity being associated with Jairus.
a) It was regularly recorded by the Gospel writers that Jesus typically forbade "demons" to bear witness of His identity (Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41).
b) As we shall see, the reason for this is deliberately tied by Luke to Jairus.
B. The descriptive facts regarding Jairus are not "complementary".
1. The very first such fact is that Jairus was a "man".
a. This term is specific and carries three major connotations.
1) The first is the issue of the "male" position in respect to the program of God (1 Corinthians 11:3).
2) The second is the issue of the "male" capacity to significantly inject action into the irreversible cause/effect universe (Numbers 30:13).
3) The third is the issue of the universality of "male" malfeasance (Luke 5:8).
b. This term is deliberately used by Luke in respect to Jesus' association with "men" whose names were "Joseph" (Note 1:27 and 23:50).
1) In the Messianic theology of the first century, it was taught that Messiah was, among other things, "Messiah-ben-Joseph".
a) This was a recognition of the foundational principle of the Bible that true effectiveness arises out of deep sacrifice/losses as the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob, clearly demonstrated.
b) One of the major issues of "faith" is its "content" when profound suffering is introduced into the life of the one who is to "believe".
c) Our Redeemer was the most profound illustration of "suffering unto the successful accomplishment of His task."
d) The "spillover" of His establishment of the principle is front and center in the "faith" focus in this combined story of two whose "suffering" was very great.
2) That the record is of Jesus' present association with a man name "Jairus" is not accidental.
a) The Gadarene demoniac goes unnamed in our record.
b) The ruler of the synagogue is identified by name.
2. The second such fact is that this "capable/responsible/failure" man is identified by a name that pushes "enlightenment" into the picture.
a. The name refers to "enlightenment" both by God and to others.
b. This one, who, by name is identified as one enlightened by God and, by function, was to serve to enlighten others is required by Jesus to refrain from "enlightening" others regarding what He had done for him in direct contrast with the demoniac, who goes unnamed.
c. This is not a positive thing.
3. The third such fact is that this enlightened capable/responsible/failure of a man is called a "ruler of the synagogue".
a. That Luke wanted his readers to understand that Jairus was a "ruler" is clear from his combination of the noun "ruler" with a verb for "being" that is developed directly from the verb form of that noun.
b. The "problem" with being a "ruler" is two-fold in Luke.
1) First, the "rulers" are consistently presented by Luke in the terrible light of abusers of their "power" because of their self-importance.
a) In the record of 18:18 we are told that the man who considered himself a very good person was identified as a "ruler" in contrast to both Matthew and Mark.
b) In 24:20 it is said that it was "our rulers" who delivered Jesus up to crucifixion without just cause.
2) Second, the concept of "rule" that is entrenched in the human psyche is that of being able to push an agenda upon folks who cannot push back.
c. The application of these "problems" is deliberately focused upon the synagogue.
1) The "rulers of the synagogue" were the perpetrators of an enormous failure.
a) It was in such a place that a demon confronted Jesus in Capernaum (4:33); it was in such a place that the scribes and Pharisees sought to "accuse Him" (6:7); Jesus predicted that His disciples would be brought into such a place to be accused (12:11 and 21:12); it was there that the "high seats" were established to fulfill the lust of the scribes and Pharisees for recognition (11:43 and 20:46 -- [Note James 2:3 in this respect]).
b) It was an almost universal reality that Jesus' teaching "in the synagogues" was met with amazed ignorance.
i. These were the front line institutions of the education of the people.
ii. Any "ruler" of such a travesty had to be "suspect" in terms of any kind of real godliness and commitment to Truth.
2) Jairus, by description, was clearly associated with "abusers of authority" and "failures of enlightenment".
4. The fourth such fact is that this "failure" of a "man" as well as a "ruler" was clearly not a man of clear conviction of the Truth.
a. His "problem" was that his daughter was dying.
b. His "solution" to the problem was to run to Jesus, a Person identified by the establishment of which he was a central part as a Demonized Power Broker.
c. This is not a compliment.
5. The fifth such fact is that this man who was willing to cast Truth aside in order to get what he wanted is presented as a man whose daughter was dying.
a. This was a huge contradiction of his own theology which he forced upon the people over which he "ruled".
1) The "Law" promised long life to those who honor their parents.
2) The "Law" promised insulation from the common disasters of living a fallen life.
3) That the "Law Enforcer" was experiencing such a huge contradiction in his own life was a divine expose of his own character and of God's opinion of it.
b. When a person runs to "a solution/any solution" in the face of terrible loss, with little to no regard for the Person/person behind the solution, we know we are dealing with a "man".
6. And, finally, even the word translated "besought" is a verb that is contextually identified with the demons of Gadara and carries heavy overtones of "summons".
a. This means that those who "beseech" in the sense of this term do so from a vantage point of a superior position.
b. This means that Jairus was so used to being a "ruler" that he simply automatically acted as though he deserved to obtain what he sought [Note Luke 7:4 in contrast to 7:3].
II. Luke's Point.
A. His record is that Jesus responded to Jairus without regard for all of the things wrong with him: this is grace.
B. His record is that "faith" has another requirement beyond the "no objections" reality: the absence of the spirit of entitlement that permeates "men".