Beth Moore — Recalibrate
I gotta tell you something. Very few things fascinate me in the human experience like the inspiration of Scripture through the Holy Spirit. We understand from Scripture that it has all been God-breathed, inspired by God himself. Through all of these writers, 66 books of Scripture, in that Bible that you hold in your hand. So I love that. I love the whole idea of inspiration. I just love to think about it. How it took place. I wonder to myself, did they know it when it was happening? Did they sense it? Could they sense the breath of God upon them as it went on the page? All of these questions I have. But as much as that, I am so intrigued by the Holy Spirit's ongoing interaction with the Scriptures.
I wonder if anybody knows what I'm telling here today? The ongoing interaction of the Holy Spirit with his own Word because it's his Word and what we understand from the Scriptures is that it is God-breathed and it's living and powerful. It's a living Word. Everybody say, "It's a living Word". That's not just dry ink on the page of your Bible. What sets it apart... let me go tell this couple this real quick. What sets it apart from every other book in every library on the planet is that these words are living words. Not just dry ink on the page, which means that every time we open it, it's with a fresh breath of God right there in that moment. Like, when we open our Bibles, it's like the mouth of God opening and he inhaled and he exhaled and it's living right on that page.
Luke chapter 7, I wanna tell you just a little bit about it so that you can understand where the pin has been placed into the hand of the man that has put it down on the scroll through the Holy Spirit's inspiration and that is Luke himself. Now, Luke is the one that wrote this Gospel as well as the sequel to it which is the book of Acts. Know this with me that Luke is a Gentile. It is believed traditionally that his home town was Antioch, that that is where he met up with the apostle Paul. We don't know why, for sure. Suddenly, in the middle of Acts, now he wrote Acts but all the way up to Acts chapter 16 it's all about "They did this, they did this, they did this, they did this," and then suddenly it becomes "We, we, we, we". Then it will go back to "they" a little bit and hop right back into "we".
Over and over again we see that there is this dear friend relationship between this Greek doctor, Gentile, this is not anyone coming from a Hebrew background, that comes on the scene with the apostle Paul and becomes eye-witness to all these things they experience together. And he writes this Gospel and he writes the book of Acts, a Gentile doctor. Toward the very end of Colossians, the apostle Paul tells us that he was "deeply loved". Luke, the beloved physician. So as you think of this, don't separate it from the one that God chose to write it. I love Luke because it's such a narrative. It tells such a story and I'm caught into stories like that.
In Luke chapter 7 there are four different scenes. We're going to primarily land on two and then we're going to touch on the two others. But here is what I am going to throw out to you as our premise for this particular event. These four events in Luke chapter 7 are like looking at a mural on the wall of one building like this. And we're gonna look at one scene, we're gonna glance at another, we're gonna glance at another, and we're gonna look at another. And somehow, in turning to these four, if we would absorb what we are gonna see of Jesus Christ in these four scenes, it would be completely pivotal to us.
I want to ask you as we get started, is this your Jesus? This one in these passages of the Gospel of Luke, is this the one you know? Because here's the thing. There is no new Word. You're holding the Word of God but when the Holy Spirit means it for us in that moment, new is not what we've looking for. We're looking for now, anybody? We're not here for a new Word. We're here for a now Word, when the Scripture jumps off the page and into our experience. It's believed that the Gospel of Luke was written somewhere around AD 61 to 63. The temple still is obviously in place and has not been destroyed and there are other references that would cause scholars to believe it was an early writing.
So I wanna begin by reading just the first ten verses, Luke 7:1 through 10 and we'll see the very first scene. "After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, 'He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.' And then it says that Jesus went with them.
I want you to hold right there and I'm gonna talk about it just a little bit. Capernaum is not where Jesus was raised, but it is where he makes home base somehow in the early part of the Gospels. This is a town not very unlike the one that we are in right now, in that it was a coastal town. You might also be interested, I did a little reading on what makes up and comprises this city economically, and so some of you might appreciate the fact that this centurion worked for something that we might think of as similar to the Department of Defense just like many of you and just like many of your loved ones. He would have been a man in charge of somewhere around 100 people. That is one reason for the name and the title. However, it could have been anywhere from 60 to 200. The name was given to it as originally meaning that exact number. But it could have been any little bit more than that or any little bit less than that. So somewhere around 100 men that were in his charge.
Now, this man without a doubt is a Gentile. He is under the rule of Herod Antipas at this particular time in Jewish history and what we're told here is that he is a man that loved the Jewish nation and he is a man that had even somehow economically afforded them their synagogue. Now here's a little point of interest. If you were to go today and visit the ruins of Capernaum, you would find there a very impressive set of ruins from a synagogue, that it's not believed to be the exact same one but you can see ruins of what is believed to be the exact same one right under it. The one that is so perfectly and beautifully obvious is one they believe to be about from 400 AD. This one is underneath it. The ruins are underneath it and you can also see some of those. And it is believed that it is the very one where Jesus went and ministered.
And here is this centurion. He's got this servant that he dearly loves. And he sends someone to tell Jesus and ask for his healing. He doesn't come himself because, you see, if he's got great respect for the Jews, he is not going to go and stand right there in the presence of Jesus and ask him. He is going to send emissaries that are from that same belief system to him. Not only that, he doesn't want him under his roof because when a devout Jew would walk into the home of a Gentile, they would immediately through walking through the threshold be defiled. So he sends word and here is what happens.
It says in verse 6: "Then Jesus went with them. And he was not far from the house, when the centurion sent friends, saying to him, 'Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.'" Did you notice earlier, his friends said, "Listen, this is a worthy man. This is someone you would wanna do something for". And what I'm guessing, wouldn't you guess this as well, is that he gets close to the house so they can see him perhaps from windows. Perhaps someone said, "Here he comes," and he goes to the window and looks and says, "Stop him from coming". They go back to him and they report that he has said this word: "Do not trouble yourself, for I'm not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed". Just say the word.
I love it in the NAS: "But just say the word". Everybody say, "But just say the word". Well, say it one more time. But you just say the word and my servant will be healed. All you have to do, you don't need to come, I don't need to come to you. You just say the word and my servant will be healed. Verse 8: "'For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, 'Go', and he goes; I say to another, 'Come', and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.' When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, 'I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.' And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. I'm a man under authority; I get authority. "I mean, I can say to somebody, 'You go,' and they go. And I can say to somebody, 'You come,' and they come, 'Do this' and they do it. He was a man over about 100 men, and I understand how this goes and my authority is derivative. You own yours. You are the author. You are the one. You just speak it and it will be done. What kind of faith is this that Jesus marveled, marveled. He marveled.
There are two times and there may be translations that use the word more than this but most of your formal translations will use the word regarding Christ himself two different times in the Gospels. Right here in Luke, that he marveled over the centurion for the centurion's faith, but the other one is in Mark 6:6 and I want you to go with me there just for a second. He marveled because of their unbelief. Two times, two times. Two times that Jesus is left slack-jawed in the Gospels. One over unbelief and the other over belief. What a crazy thing. Remember that the centurion sent these words: "You just say the word and my servant will be healed. You just say the word. Just say the word". Everybody say, "Say the word".
I want you to listen to the context of it because this is where Luke is coming from. Man, is he ever making a point here. So look with me at Luke chapter 4 and I wanna read verses 31 and 32: "And he went down to Capernaum," are we in the same city? Okay, "he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority". They were astonished at his teaching because his word possessed authority. Well, I guess it did because he wrote it. I mean, there's just nothing like having the author of a book, like, read it to you. Do you ever have one of those audio books and you're, like, all bummed when you realize that the actual author is not the one reading 'cause you're all about, "I want the author to read it. I don't want a faker, I want the author to read it".
There's just something about... okay, right here, right here, right here, I mean, like, it's him. Like, he's just like, he's going, like, "I remember this part". You know what I'm saying? I mean, that's good. That's good, like, right here, right here. I mean, just seeing it all and then it says in 33: "And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy One of God.' But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent and come out of him!' And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm". Verse 36: "And they were all amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'"
Who has power of speech like that? Who spoke out into the nothingness and said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Who does that? Who does that? Who speaks to a prophet and says, "Prophesy to the four winds and tell the breath to come to these bones of these men who have been slain," and all those bones start clicking and clacking together. Whose word is like that word? Who speaks like this?
Our key word and our title to this particular event is "Recalibrate". And so here's what I'm saying because I've not really ever thought seriously about that word. I think in terms of, "Man, I need revival". All of us could use refreshment. A lot of us need rest. I gotta tell you something. Boy, do some of us need some rest. I've a really good and really funny friend and she wrote something on her Facebook page about her family that I just keep thinking about and I texted her before I came over. I said, "Don't even entertain the thought that I'm not gonna go tell this to everybody". I'm just not keeping it to myself. Listen to this.
She said, and I'm quoting her: "I thought I heard a noise after I put my kids to bed. So I went upstairs and, sure enough, there stood a small form in the dark hallway and I bent down and I said in a menacing tone, 'You get back in bed right now!'" Does that sound familiar to anyone? "And it did not move one muscle because it was a vacuum cleaner". Stop it! Tell me that is not the best. You know you need a rest when you have commanded your vacuum cleaner to get back in the bed right this minute.
If you, this week, have had a fight with your vacuum cleaner, you are in exactly the right place. And you need rest and you need refreshment but you might need a recalibration. The word "calibrate", I'm gonna read the whole thing to you, "To standardize (as a measuring instrument) by determining the deviation from a standard so as to ascertain the proper correction factors. To adjust precisely for a particular function". To adjust precisely. So here's what I really want you to hear. The part about being able to determine the deviation from the standard. Anybody? Anybody?
Because here's what happens, and it's very, very natural. There's no shame in this. It's as part of the human condition. All of us will occasionally throughout the course of our believing lives, we can be deeply committed to Jesus, deeply committed to the Scriptures, and still really require on a periodic basis a recalibration, a time to just see, like, where have I kind of gone off here?
Not lost my salvation, we are secure in the hands of Jesus once we are in Christ, nothing can snatch us out of the Father's hand, glory to his name. But what can happen in all our busyness, in all our living out of the pressures of life, it can be during a sickness, it could be during whatever huge distraction, maybe beginning a business, maybe going through a divorce, maybe having a new baby, maybe having three kids under five, maybe planning a wedding, maybe planning your boss's wedding. Whatever it may be, we have times that we just for whatever reason, it can even be that for some amount of time we've just been really, really, really fascinated with one particular theme in the Scriptures so we're all over there and it's been ages since we've gone anywhere else.
Is anybody understanding that with me? And there comes a time when we could all use, just like, where has this kind of deviated? And what we're talking about here is recalibrating ourselves specifically where Jesus is concerned. I want to remind you of the time in Matthew chapter 16 when Christ asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am"? And so they told him a few identities that people believed he might have. And so he looks at them and he asks the real question. This is the question he asks of every single one of us in this house this weekend, everybody, everybody on the other side of that screen: "Who do you say that I am"?
See, the ramifications of that are beyond estimation. Everything about your life and everything about my life is flowing out of that one thing: Who is Jesus in your perception? Who is he? Who is he? There's just things about him we forget. We get fixated on one particular part of him and that has us wound up for whatever reason, whatever need. And then occasionally, we just need something that brings us back where have we kind of deviated from this is who he is, this is who he is. We are on a divine date to recalibrate.
Two questions come to us. Who do men say that I am? Who are your pastors and teachers saying that I am? And now here's where the rubber meets the road. Who do you say that I am? Because nobody can answer that for us. Nobody. At the end of the day and at the beginning of the day, let me think of the beginning of the day because if I'm getting up early in the morning, I'm gonna go in and have my quiet time, nobody's going in with me. When I'm struggling through something that's very, very private, that I really am not in the position to share with anybody that I'm just, man, I'm just having a hard time over something and I don't wanna trip anybody up by telling 'em, nobody's there with me. It's me and Jesus. It's me and Jesus.
When my life is done and when your life is done, we're not gonna be able to go, "But they said". Who's they? Where are they? Where are they? Who do you say that I am? Because there are a lot of us that think, "Man, these are great Gospel stories but they really have no relevance to the present except to just make us happy for what he did then". Who do we say that he is? We sometimes figure that God is like... Jesus is there at the right hand of God, just like watching from a safe distance while we're down here in 3 inches of hot Crisco frying like chickens. Am I telling the truth to anybody? Recalibrate.