Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Superlative in the Gospel Narrative

worship field As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

Luke 13:17

When describing the work and wonder of Jesus, Luke slips into praiseful superlatives. How else are you going to describe the ministry of God on earth? Three times in this simple, short verse Luke uses the superlative “all” in reference to Jesus and each one magnifies the other exponentially.

This section of Luke mingles the teaching of the kingdom with various miracles and confrontations with those who oppose Jesus. It is a unique feature of the gospel of Luke. And pause is made to describe the combined effect of what Jesus has done. The three “all”s are worth examination.

The first “all” is in reference to the adversaries of Jesus. His teaching and work effectively silenced their critical statements and actions. Not one effort succeeded against Him. All of them failed. Luke says they were put to shame, the ultimate defeat in shame-based Eastern culture. That is because the truth is self-authenticating in Jesus. HE IS THE TRUTH. He is unique in that way.

The second superlative is in reference to the crowds around the Lord. Every one of them was impressed. Jesus made an impact on every person in the crowd. They could not deny it. The result was praise. All the people rejoiced. That is one of the proofs of Christ’s deity. God demands praise from us. He will not let us praise another. And when God is present, glory is drawn to Him. Jesus was a magnet for both joy and praise.

The final “all” describes Jesus’ work and ministry. All his works are called “glorious”. The glory of God is revealed in all the work of Christ. The crowds saw this, which is why they worshiped. I see this right now and praise my Lord.

Jesus is worthy of praise. His glorious work is completely the work of God. And He draws praise to Himself by displaying God’s glory. Everything He has done for me is glorious and I will join the marveling crowds who worship Jesus!

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