I have a confession.
Don’t tell John.
I think Luke is my newest gospel crush.
Maybe it’s because Luke’s a doctor who understands the needs of the weak and downtrodden.
Maybe I’m captivated by the parables that aren’t in the other gospels.
Maybe it’s because Luke is the Gospel of Joy.
Here are 7 things no one probably told you about Luke and his Gospel:
1. Who is Luke?
Luke, also the author of Acts, writes his Gospel to present Jesus as the savior of both the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). His narrative offers a historical and chronological account of Christ’s life and teachings, paying special attention to the prayer life of Jesus and the importance of women in Jesus’ ministry. Keep an eye out for both of these as you read!
2. Luke pulls a switcheroo.
His writing switches from regular Greek in the preface to a style looking a lot like the Greek translation of the Old Testament (The LXX) throughout the rest of his Gospel. It’s like using the vernacular and then switching to King James English. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about those “Thou shalt nots” that make everything sound super important and extra holy.
3. Who… me?
God wants to use us—ordinary humans—to accomplish his divine plan of redemption. Squint at the lives of Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, the shepherds, the disciples, and more. Might be worth highlighting as you join us for Lent 2014!
4. A Gospel for the Powerless.
Luke’s narrative reminds us that God’s plan isn’t controlled by those who have earthly power. Jesus often points out the sins of those with political, economic, and spiritual power. God’s kingdom isn’t run the same as earthly kingdoms. One dictates by tyranny and fear; the other demonstrates compassion and peace.
5. Miracles, what’s the point?
Throughout Luke’s narrative, miracles evoke faith which leads to people following Jesus. Miracles aren’t a show, but an invitation to salvation.
6. Blessed are you who are poor.
The sermon on the plain in Luke 6 isn’t elevating poverty as blessedness. Instead, poverty frees you from the stronghold of materialism, allowing you to give your life more fully to God.
7. Turn Around.
Luke’s Gospel repeats the verb to repent again and again. It’s a word worth underlining as you read. He records stories featuring repentance without even using the word—like the prodigal son. Jewish understanding of repentance was a literal turning back toward covenant with God. Following Jesus is more than just becoming a fan of his actions and teachings. Becoming a disciple requires a radical commitment, a complete overhaul and reorientation of your life.
Your turn: What are you learning this week? What verse, word, passage stood out to you? Are you blogging or writing about the #LentChallenge? Leave a link to your blog as a comment below so we can follow along!
*Source: David E. Garland. Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke.
This week I’m giving away THREE copies of Jana Riess‘ new book, The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less.
I asked Jana who should read The Twible:
First and foremost, the goal of The Twible is to make people laugh, to make them happy.
A secondary goal, though, has always been to help people become more familiar with the Bible as a whole. A lot of us are really intimidated by the Bible—there are 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and tons of characters to keep track of. So The Twible is like speed dating, only with the Bible. It’s a quick and entertaining introduction that might help readers decide where they’d like to dig in further into the actual Bible.
Congratulations to the winners: Terri Krause, Jenni Ho-Huan, Sherilyn Leath