The Gospel of Luke
"The Scribe of the Gentleness of Christ" - Dante
General Facts about The Gospel of Luke
Time written: (AD 80-85) in Greece
Audience: Gentile Christians (represented by Theophilus)
Animal: Winged Ox/Bull, used to symbolize Christ as being sacrificial
Author: also wrote Acts; Luke was a Gentile Christian (thought to be a disciple of Peter)
- Sources: Q, The Gospel of Mark, and L
- Special Disciple: Mary Mother of God
- Christology: High
Unique Writing Style
The Role of the Holy Spirit
Jesus’ life ends as he tells his disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit until they are clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit Descends on Mary
Everything starts and ends with the Holy Spirit, for example, the life of Jesus started when the Holy Spirit descended onto Mary.
Holy Spirit Descend on Disciples
The Holy Spirit is also present at Jesus’ baptism and at the beginning of his ministry.
Holy Spirit Descends on Mary
Mary is portrayed as the model disciple in the Gospel of Luke. First she accepts and believes the angel at the annunciation. Her complete faith in God serves as an example of how we should listen to our call from God and have faith that he will lead us in a positive direction. Another way Mary serves as an example to Christians is when she rushes to her cousin Elizabeth to share the Good News. This shows how we are expected to share what we learn rather than receive and hold on to what God has revealed.
Unique Image of Christ
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus emerges mostly as a teacher, he teaches in a peaceful manner and confident is his ethical teaching. He shows clearly how much he wants to show his compassion and forgiveness to his followers and everyone around him. In Luke, he is very powerful and shows how powerful he is in many different areas and perspectives, such as, a savior, a prophet, and a healer. In many of the stories and parables, it shows Jesus as someone who forgives sinners and cares a lot for the poor. In The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) Jesus shows us how the Kingdom of God truly is. This parable clearly shows us the Image of Christ in Luke because of how compassionate and forgiving the father is. The man’s younger son leaves him and spends all his money and now has no food, he realizes that he has to apologize for his wrongdoings and go to his father. His father welcomes him with open arms and forgives him automatically once he repents. The father is Jesus and the son is us, his followers. The Gospel of Luke shows us no matter how much we stray from God and fall into temptation and sin, if we repent God will always welcome us and rejoice with us.
Role of Food and the Feast in Luke
The Parable of the Great Feast and road to Emmaus:
In this parable, a man planned a large banquet and sent out invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to contact each of the invited guests, telling them that all was ready and the meal was about to start (verses 16-17). One after another, the guests made excuses for not coming. When the host of the party heard about these excuses, he told his servant to forget the guests and go into the town and invite “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” all of them so that his house will be full.
The Master of the House is God, and the great feast is the Kingdom of God. Throughout this parable, Jesus is teaching us that even the “unclean” are accepted into the Kingdom of God (tax collectors and sinners).
The events on the road to Emmaus are discussed in Luke 24. In this story, two disciples (Cleopas and one unnamed) of Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus suddenly joins them (the resurrected one) and he asks them what they are talking about and they tell “the stranger” of Jesus’ crucifixion and the report of His empty tomb. When the two disciples arrive in Emmaus, they asked Jesus to join them for dinner. He did, and as He broke the bread and blessed the meal, “their eyes were opened” (verse 31), and they recognized who He was. Jesus then disappeared.
The Lord's Supper remains the most important meal in the Christian tradition. Sometimes it's even considered a Christian version of the Passover, with Jesus himself representing the lamb that was slain. The food that everyone ate was bread…that is why it is so significant that Jesus called himself "the bread of life." He presented himself as the people's fundamental source of spiritual nourishment, just like bread is our physical nourishment. From the first point of Jesus' ministry, the role of feast and food has always been a part of the Gospel of Luke.
Unique Healing Stories
- The prodigal son is one of the most iconic parables of love and forgiveness in the Gospels. After having left his home and squandered his inheritance, a man’s son returns poor to become a servant for his father. His father greets him with opened arms and throws a party in order to celebrate his return. At the party, his brother refuses to enter, being angry at his father’s forgiveness. His father tries to convince him to rejoice in his brother’s repentance. The son is supposed to represent someone who has strayed from God, the father is God the Father, and the other son is a symbol of the Pharisees and higher ups, who were judging those who they perceived as sinners. This parable is not only a story about forgiveness, but about acceptance.
- In the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus shows his compassion for the poor and his strictness for the responsibilities of the rich. We see the rich man, eating lavishly, and then the poor man Lazarus, who is starving and full of sores, which the dogs lick, a sign of Jewish impurity. When Lazarus dies, he is taken to Heaven, not even being buried on Earth, an important Jewish ritual. When the rich man, he is sent to Hell. He begs Abraham for forgiveness, asking that Lazarus give him a drop of water from his finger, and that he be able to return to his brothers and warn them. Abraham, however, says that if they did not listen to the prophets, they won’t listen to him. This story shows an allegory for repentance. Many believe that when Jesus returns, they will repent. But Jesus emphasizes that if they did not listen before, they won’t listen then. It also shows the common theme of the poor becoming great in the Kingdom of God, and the rich becoming “poor” if they fail to live the Kingdom of God in this life.
The Good Samaritan 10:29-37
- A relatively famous parable, the Good Samaritan recounts the story of a man left for dead on the road. Two Jewish officials pass by and ignore him, but the Samaritan man helps him and makes sure he is well. Samaritans and Jews hated each other, so the fact that Jesus uses a Samaritan man as the hero of the story shows us his teaching of “the last shall come first”. This is made evident when the man whom Jesus was telling the parable is asked to tell who was a neighbor to the man, and he replies “The one who treated him with mercy” (Luke 10:37a). There is so much hatred in him that he is unable to even say the word “Samaritan.” It becomes evident that Jesus wants to leave this idea of hatred and have the live according to the Kingdom of God.
- Another classic example of the flip in importance that Luke portrays. Two men go to pray in the Temple; a Pharisee and a Tax Collector. The Pharisee thanks God for his blessings, and for the fact that he is not like the tax collector. Meanwhile, the tax collector shows true remorse for his actions. Jesus then says that the tax collector was the one who was forgiven and “justified”. Once again, Jesus shows us how important being humble is.