Jesus, The Big Bang Theory Characters, and The Pharisees: The Difference Between Knowledge & Action

Posted: March 22, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 14:1-6 — In this passage, we see the difference between knowing Scripture and living Scripture.

The illustration that comes to mind when reading this passage is the Big Bang Theory. It is one of my favorite shows of all time. It is wickedly funny. It is the first time in TV history where intelligent nerds are center stage and not the butt of a joke. But there is one scene in one of the episodes where there is something wrong with Penny’s car and each of the four main guy characters each can explain the details of a combustion engine and how and why it works. Then someone says (I think in was Penny), “…but can you fix it?” Each one is silent then. For all their chatter, not one could help Penny get her car fixed. That is what is on display here too. The Pharisees knew Scripture like you would not believe. The had created reams and reams of interpretation of the Law. They had built a legal body of work that built fences around the law so that they would not break it.

Then, Jesus challenges them like Penny challenged Howard, Raj, Leonard and Sheldon. Jesus knew their hearts. He knew that they were trying to trick Him into saying or doing something that would give them ammunition to have Him arrested. He knew they were experts in Scripture but He challenged them on the living of it. It is very similar to the main idea of the movie, Do You Believe?, that my wife and I went to see last night during its second night in the theaters since its release. The movie challenges us to live our faith out rather than just saying that we have it. We are to live out being a Christ follower rather than simply being a sideline Christian. So you believe? What are you going to do with it? Are we going to love others as Christ loved us? Are we going to allow the gospel to really change our lives and live lives of principle? Are we going to do the right thing? Are we going give ourselves away to others? Are we going to help others when they need helping? Are we going to speak of Jesus to others when it will cost us something? Are we going to live out our knowledge of the spirit of Scripture?

Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath despite the fact that the Pharisees had created layers of religious law against doing work on the Sabbath. Jesus, being the one who gave us the Law, knew that the intent of the Sabbath was to focus on glorifying God for all that He has done for us. It was to focus on praising Him. It was to take time out of our busy lives to focus specifically on worshiping our Creator, our Protector, our Provider, our Ever Present Help. It was not meant to make life so restrictive that we could not even spit on the ground on the Sabbath. That’s how weird the Pharisees had made the Sabbath. They had turned something that was intended to be joyful and turned it into fear. Jesus reclaims the purpose of the Sabbath. Healing those who need to know of the glory of God. What better way to give glory to God than to demonstrate the power of God. Jesus said that the Pharisees would do no less for their son or even an animal on the Sabbath. He was quietly calling them hypocrites and condemning them for making the Sabbath about them calling the shots rather than it being about glorifying God. He condemned them for knowing Scripture to the nth degree but not living it out in ways that are real. Jesus quietly by his actions shut them up. You hear no chatter. Just as Penny shuts up the Incredible Nerds, Jesus calls the Pharisees out and they are silent.

Do you know Scripture but do not live it out? This is the question that plagues me daily. I know Scripture pretty well. I write about it daily here. I love studying Scripture. I love helping people understand what Scripture means. Do I live it out though? Am I loving like Jesus loved? Am I living like Jesus lived? Am I leaving a legacy of disciples who make disciples who make disciples behind? Am I sharing my faith with others? Am I making Jesus known in places where He is not known? Am I good at talking the talk but not good at walking the walk? What am I doing with my faith? The opening credit to last nights movie was James 1:27 which basically tells us that faith without expression is worthless. We should be compelled to act in a world that needs to know Jesus Christ. Knowledge without practical application is worthless. That is the point of the illustration from the Big Bang Theory. James 1:27 tells us not to just walk by a person who is in need and tell them that we will pray for them. It calls us to actually help that person. Am I living out my faith? Or am I just an academic Christian? Do I put wheels on my faith? Will I sit on the sidelines and wish or will I actually do something? Jesus says by His actions here that you can have all the Scripture knowledge in the world but if you fail to demonstrate the love of God that we all say we have then it is meaningless to a hurting world.

Lord, help us to be traction to our faith tires. Lord, help us to be more than academic Christians. Lord, help us to not to condemn the world around us but to change it by our getting our hands dirty in the lives of the people that need to hear the gospel. Help us make the gospel real to those who see us as a bunch of ivory tower commentators on the world’s problems. Help us to meet needs in the world that really matter and in so doing demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in action. Help us to heal those who need healing. Help us to make Christ known through our expressed love for our fellow man not just conceptual love. Amen.

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