The Gospel according to Luke It’s the one of the earliest account of Jesus’ life and it’s actually part 1 of a unified two-volume work
Luke – Acts If you compare the opening lines of both of the books It’s clear that it comes from the same author And there’s internal clue in the book of Acts as well in early tradition that identifies the author as
Luke the traveling companion and co-worker of Paul the Apostle who we know is also a doctor Luke opens his words with a preface telling how and why he wrote this book He acknowledges that there are many other fine accounts of Jesus’ life out there But he wanted to go back to the eyewitness traditions of His many earliest Disciples as he could In order to produce what he called “an orderly account about the things that has been fulfilled among us” Now that word “fulfill” shows us why Luke wrote this account For him, the story of Jesus isn’t just ancient history He wants to show how it’s the fulfillment of the long covenant story of God and Israel and bigger than that, of the story of God and the whole world The book’s design is fairly clear There’s a long introduction that setup the story of John the Baptist and Jesus Then in Chapter 3-9, Luke presents a robust portrait of Jesus and his mission in his home region of Galilee After that, a large mid section of the book is Jesus’ long journey to Jerusalem which leads to the story’s climax Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem leading up to his death and resurrection which then leads on to the book of Acts And in this video, we just gonna focus on the first half of Luke Gospel The extended introduction tells in parallel the birth story of John the Baptist and Jesus So you have this elderly priestly couple
Zechariah and Elizabeth and then this young unmarried woman Mary and Joseph They both received an unlikely divine promise that they were going to have a son Both promises are fulfilled then as John and Jesus are born and both parents sing poems of celebration Now these poetic songs, they are filled with echoes from the Old Testament’s psalms and prophets showing how these children would fulfill God’s ancient promises But these poems also preview each child’s role in the story to follow So John is the prophetic messenger promised in the Torah and the Prophets who is going prepare Israel to meet their God and Jesus, He’s the Messianic King promised to David who’s going to bring God’s reign over Israel and God’s blessings to the nations just like He promised to Abraham After this, Mary brings Jesus to the Jerusalem temple for His dedication and two elderly prophets Anna and Simeon, they see Jesus and they recognize who He is And Simeon sings his own song, a poem inspired by the prophet Isaiah He says this child is God’s salvation for Israel and He will become a light to the nations So with all this anticipation, the story moves forward into the next main section where Luke presents Jesus and his mission He sets the stage with John’s renewal movement to the Jordan river where he is calling the new repentant recommited Israel into existence through Batism He’s preparing for the arrival of God’s Kingdom And then, Jesus appears as the leader of this new Israel and He’s marked down by the Spirit and the voice of God from Heaven He is the beloved Son of God After this Luke follows with the geneaology and it traces Jesus’ origin back to David, and back to Abraham and then all the way back to Adam from the book of Genesis Luke’s claiming here: That Jesus is the Messianic King of Israel who brings God’s blessings but not only to Israel the family of Abraham He is here for all the sons of Adam, for all humanity. After this Luke has strategically placed the story of Jesus going to his hometown Nazareth where He launches His public mission At the synagogue gathering, Jesus stands up, and He reads from the scroll of Isaiah saying “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, to preach good news to the poor and freedom for prisoners New sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed.” Now along with the other gospels, Jesus is presented here He’s the Messianic King bringing the good news of God’s Kingdom But Luke uniquely highlights are the social implications of Jesus’s mission. So He brings freedom, the Greek word is ‘aphesis’ literally means ‘Release’ and refers to the ancient Jewish practice of the year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25 It’s when all Israel slaves were released, when people’s debts were cancelled, when lands that were sold returned back to families. It’s all the symbolic reenactment of God’s liberating justice and mercy. And then Jesus said that the good news of release is specifically for the poor Now in the Old Testaments, the poor, or in Hebrew ‘ani’ It’s a much broader category than just people who don’t have very much money. It refers also to the people of low social status in their culture like people with disabilities, women and children and the elderly It also can include the social outsiders like people of other ethinics groups or people whose poor life choices have placed them outside acceptable religious circles. And Jesus says that God’s Kingdom is a specially good news for these people So after this Luke immediately puts in front of us a large block of story showing us what Jesus’ good news to the poor looks like It involves the healing of a bed-ridden sick woman, or a man who has a skin disease or someone who is paralyzed The story here also about Jesus welcoming into his community a tax collector like, Levite who is not financially poor but he is a social outsider There’s a story about Jesus forgiving a prostitute Luke’s showing us how Jesus’ Kingdom brought restoration and reversal of people’s whole life circumstances. He’s expanding the circle of people who get invited in to discover the healing power of God’s Kingdom. And as Jesus’ mission attracts a large following He does something even more provocative He forms these people into a New Israel by appointing over them the twelve disciples as leaders corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. and then Jesus teaches His manifesto of an upside-down Kingdom. or Luke calls it a Sermon given on the plain. He says God’s Love for the outsiders and the poor means that His Kingdom brings a reversal of all of our value systems He is here to form a new alternative people of God who are going to respond to Jesus invitation by practicing radical generosity by serving the poor, people who are going to lead by serving and live by peacemaking and forgiveness, people who are deeply pious but who reject religious hypocrisy. Now Jesus’ radical Kingdom vision has claimed to divine authority. It starts to generate resistance and controversy especially from Israel’s religious leaders. His outreach to questionable people, it’s a threat to their religious traditions and their sense of social stability and so they start accusing Jesus of blaspheming God, of being a drunken mixing with sinners. And so this session culminates in a new revelation of Jesus’ mission to his disciples. He says that, Yes He is the Messianic King and that He is going to assert His reign over Israel by dying in Jerusalem by becoming the suffering servant king of Isaiah 53 who dies for the sins of Israel and then the shocking idea it gets explored in the next story as Jesus goes up a mountain with three of His disciples and He suddenly transforms in front of them They’re enveloped in a cloud of God’s presence who announces “This is my chosen Son.” And then Moses, and Elijah are there. The two other prophets who encountered God’s presence and voice on a mountain. And Luke tells us that they were talking together about Jesus’ Exodus, that He was about to fulfill in Jerusalem. Now that Greek work ‘Exodus’ is a clear reference to the Exodus story Luke is portraying Jesus here as a new Moses who will lead His newly formed Israel into freedom and released from the tyranny of sins and evil and all of its forms: personal, spiritual and social. And that going to lead us into the second half of the book, but for now that’s the first half of the Gospel according to Luke.