The gospel of Luke is the third book of the New Testament. It is believed to be the “first half of a two-part story that begins with Jesus in Nazareth and ends with Paul in Rome” as stated by Mellowes Marilyn. This gospel was written by Luke the Evangelist in 60AD, who was a companion of Apostle Paul. This gospel mainly comprises of information which is believed to be from oral traditions, the Gospel of Mark and source Quelle (Q).
Luke’s purpose is primarily to address the truth behind the things that many have been told by eyewitnesses and other gospels. As stated in Luke 1:1-4, Luke is written to tell a narrative of the accounts that happened in that time in a well-organized and informed way for the The-oph’ilus, lovers of God, in order for them to a certain those accounts to be what trolley took place.
This gospel’s audience is primarily the Gentiles and the lovers of God. It emphasizes in prayer, work of the Holy Spirit, joy and the fact that Jesus was a friend to everybody showing us that Luke encourages Christians to be united despite your nationality or race. In this gospel, we thus see that Jesus’ mission is not only for Jews but for all humanity and that is why we see that in this gospel the genealogy of Jesus tracing back to Abraham as the father of humanity.
The personalities of this gospel include the twelve disciples, Jesus, John the Baptist, Simeon and Anna, Mary, Joseph, Mary Magdalene, Zechariah, Elizabeth and other leaders who included the Pharisees and Sadducees who hindered the success of Jesus’ ministry.
Body and themes
There is a great emphasis on the Holy Spirit filling different people all over the gospel of Luke starting from the infancy stories all through to when the holy spirit is promised to fill the disciples. Particularly in the infancy stories, the filling of the Holy Spirit is often followed by joy and prayer. For instance, once John the Baptist was born Zachariah was glad for this joyous miracle such that once he was filled with the Holy Spirit he thanked God for this blessing as a sign of gratitude brought upon his house and the house of David.
The gospel of Luke also has a great emphasis on the return of Jesus as portrayed in various parables like the parable of the Pounds (Lk 19.11-27). Nonetheless, we also see that in this gospel that people have to deal with the prospect of death to commemorate the end of their earthly life, before the return of Jesus.
Another theme that seems to pop out in this book of Luke is the theme of richness and poverty where we see Jesus emphasizing that we should leave early riches and focus in the heavenly richness. Just like in the parable of the prodigal son, the oldest son’s estate is divided again to the youngest son showing us that we should not value these earthly riches but share them with the poor who cannot afford to have them.
The entire four gospels have similar stories, teachings, and sayings. However, throughout the book of Luke, you will find information that’s unique to it as these stories are not found in any of the other gospels. For instance;
a) Announcement of the Birth of John the Baptist (Lk1.13)
The announcement of John the Baptist is very common to that of Jesus as in both stories the angel of the Lord appeared to their parents telling them that they would have a child. However, in the announcement of John the Baptist there seemed to have more relationship with the story of Abraham as in both stories it seemed odd that that Sarah and Elizabeth would be able to conceive at their old age.
b) Circumcision of Jesus and John the Baptist in Lk 1.59 and Lk 2.21 respectively
Circumcision was a practice that had been carried out since the time of Abraham and was practiced all over by the Jews. The two circumcisions were however only recorded in the book of Luke and were carried out on the eighth day of the children being born. On this day, the names of the child were also picked.
c) Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem
In this book the story of Jesus’ birth is told in detail as it describes how Mary and Joseph had to head to Bethlehem for the census and Mary gave birth to a son, “wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”(Lk 2.7, RSV)
d) Jesus was blessed by Simeon and Anna (Lk 2:21-38)
This particular story is particularly unique to this gospel. Simeon and Anna were righteous people and seeing Jesus with their own eyes before their death was such a blessing to them that they showed their appreciation by blessing both Jesus and his parents during the purification ceremony in Jerusalem.
e) Distinctive parables or saying
Jesus throughout his ministry focused on compassion and forgiveness and Luke choose to include this in detail in this gospel. Some parables are unique to this gospel like the parable of the prodigal son and the parable of the Good Samaritan.
As the gospel of Luke was written for a Greek audience we find the interests of this book speaking to the Greeks. For instance in the parable of the prodigal son, we find that we should accept both the Jews, the older faithful son, and the Gentiles, the prodigal son, into the Church. Another example is in the parable of the Good Samaritan where we see Luke emphasizing on good character despite nationality or race.
In some cases, the gospel of Luke is viewed as the Jewish gospel as in this gospel we see many scenarios pointing towards their livelihood. However, Jesus is also portrayed as the representative of all of humanity through the genealogy that dates back to Abraham as the father of humanity. Throughout this gospel, Jesus is shown as someone who wants to save us all from sin despite our religion or race. A good example of this is in the parable of the Good Samaritan where we find the Samaritan helping a Gentile of whom they were enemies. This parable shows us that Jesus was here to bring salvation to us all as he encouraged compassion and forgiveness in his ministry. Jesus died for our sins and the allegations that were brought towards him were false. Jesus did not want to interfere with the process of government but wanted to save humanity
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