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LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part XLIX: The Credibility Of The Christian Faith In Spite Of Objections Raised By Its Religious Opponents
Lesson: Christianity is true even if religious people object to it since such folk, according to Jesus, are Satan's agents who have crept into religious circles to promote an evil agenda, cf. 2 Cor. 11:14.
- When we assert that the teachings of Christ are true, we put ourselves at odds with other very religious people, for the Christian faith often asserts views that critique the views of such opponents.
- Well, how can Christianity be true when very religious, upstanding people would object to its teachings?
- Jesus answers this question in Luke 13:10-21 as follows:
- The Credibility Of The Christian Faith In Spite Of Objections Raised By It Religious Opponents.
- Luke's Gospel was written to certify the validity of the Christian faith to Theophilus, Luke 1:3-4.
- In the process, Luke shows Jesus countering the objection that an upstanding, religious man, Lk. 13:10-17:
- While teaching in a synagogue on Sabbath day, Jesus released a woman from an infirmity, Lk. 13:10-13.
- The synagogue ruler, who would have been staunchly conservative, objected to this healing, Lk. 13:14.
- The ruler claimed Christ had broken the command about working on the Sabbath, cf. Ex. 20:9.
- This Pharisee ruler would have held to the inerrancy of Scripture, and promoted obeying Scripture.
- He was in favor of people being healed, but not on the Sabbath day, Lk. 13:14b.
- In reality, Jesus had not broken the Sabbath, for Deuteronomy 5:13 clarifies that the fourth commandment's prohibited "work" was labor, or that effort expended to make a regular livelihood.
- In any event, Jesus exposed the hypocricy and theological error of the synagogue's ruler, Lk. 13:15-17:
- Angered at the ruler's hypocrisy, Jesus called him a hypocrite in responding to him, 13:15a.
- Then Jesus revealed how every Pharisee would release his ox or donkey from the stall on the Sabbath and lead it out to a watering trough to quench its thirst, Lk. 13:15b. Since these animals were beasts of burden, kept for work, these Pharisees were aiding their ability to do servile work on the Sabbath Day by servicing these beasts of burden, and all without a pang of guilt.
- Hence, Jesus asked why it was not suitable for a woman who had been bound by Satan for eighteen long years to find refreshment from her ailment through Jesus' healing her on the Sabbath, Lk. 13:16.
- Christ's opponents were thus shamed, and the people rejoiced for the healing that He had done, 13:17.
- Following this event, Jesus gave two parables of the Kingdom of God to explain how it cam about that He was right in spite of this very upstanding religious man's objections to His healing effort, Luke 13:18-21:
- Beginning verse 18 is an inferential particle (oun) translated "Then", UBS Grk. N.T., p. 270. The word means "consequently," Arndt & Gingrich, Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the N.T., p. 597.
- As G. Campbell Morgan in his commentary on Luke says, this word "introduces the next phase" of "two parables which He [Jesus] had uttered in an earlier part of His ministry . . . Why did he repeat these two parables? Because He saw and understood the attitude of this ruler of the synagogue, and of the people. . . " (p. 165). G. Campbell Morgan then shows how these parables of the mustard seed and leaven reveal the mixture of God's work and Satan's work in organized re ligion in Israel.
- In detail, the parable of the mustard seed shows the mammoth growth of religion as God and Satan both have their own religious personnel in various even upstanding religious organizations.
- The leaven, elsewhere in Scripture always picturing what is evil or errant, pictures the false beliefs promoted in upstanding religious circles. Jesus exposed the synagogue ruler to be an unsaved agent of Satan's kingdom who pushed a false Sabbath belief damaging to people, Ibid., Morgan, p. 165-166.
Application: (1) As upstanding religious groups can be infiltrated with Satan's agents posing as God's people, and promoting beliefs that are actually very erroneous, we must test every teacher and every teaching by Scripture, cf. 1 John 4:1-4,5-6. (2) As the parable of the leaven shows the whole lump becoming leavened (Lk. 13:20-21 with 12:1 where leaven is hypocrisy and Mtt. 16:12 where it is errant doctrine), hypocrisy and doctrinal error will eventually corrupt every religious group. So, go by the Bible, not what an institution holds in order to define and adopt what is God's real truth.