Gospel of Luke
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Studying the background and theological emphases of the Gospel of Luke helps us to understand the central message of his Gospel.
III. The Gospel of Luke
A. Theological Emphases
1. Great Loving Concern of God for the Oppressed
a. Genealogy going back to Adam
b. Gospel story begins with Roman census
c. Implicit missions
d. Explicit missions
3. Warnings of the Dangers of Riches
6. The Holy Spirit
B. Authorship of Luke
1. Early church tradition
2. Connection with Acts - "We" sections
a. Acts 16:10
b. Acts 20:5
D. Audience of Luke
2. Lukan Prologue
3. Individual Passages
a. Tiles - 5:19
b. Cloak and coat
E. Date of Luke
Course: New Testament Survey - Gospels
Lecture: Gospel of Luke
Today we are looking at the gospel of Luke. Of all the writers in the New Testament — the one who has not written the most in the New Testament is not Paul with all his letters but Luke and the book of Acts, which are such long portions of scripture.
Again we are going to wait and talk about authorship later. Want to talk about some of the theological emphases found in the gospel of Luke. And one of the interesting concerns of Luke is this great concern for the outcast, the oppressed, the down and out kinds of people.
A great concerns, for instance with tax collectors, and you say well, I though Matthew was a tax collector and he would be concerned this way.
Luke has great concern for these. Turn with me to page 99. You have here in the midst of a reference to account 107, line 27 on page 99. Luke has, when they heard this all the people and the tax collectors justify God, having being baptized in the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves. Not having been baptized by him, John the Baptist.
So we have tax collectors rejoicing of the coming of John the Baptist, the Pharisees and lawyers, not. You go to page 194, and here you have in the opening verses of this chapter, which has three parables, the parable of the prodigal son ending it. Verse one, Luke in this — Luke's introductory material. Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribe murmured saying this man receives sinners and eats with them.
We have on page 205, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican [tape skipped] and here you have he also told this parable to some who trusted themselves that they were righteous and despised others too. And two men went up to the temple to pray when a Pharisee and the other, a tax collector. And you know the story the Pharisee boost in his righteousness, the tax collector is repentant and ask God for mercy. And Jesus says the tax collector that goes away justified because he had humbled himself.
And then you have the story of Zacchaeus, 19 we won't look at that, but here you have a tax collector who receives forgiveness, welcomes Jesus and all this, of course, stands in sharp contrast with the Pharisees and scribe.
In that same passage in Luke 15, back to page 194, you his great emphasis and concern for sinners. This man receives sinners and eats with them, verse two. That's right, he does. And then after the first parable, the parable ends in line 14, Luke 15:7. I tell you there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents then over 99 righteous persons who need their repentance.
And then after the parable of the lost coin, verse 10. Just so I tell you there is joy over the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Here you have the concern for again outcast. Pharisees are opposed to the message of Jesus, but the tax collector and sinners are in favor of him.
You have a great concern for the poor in Luke. Page 192, here you have ethical teachings of Jesus. And he says, in verse 12, line 10, at the top of 192, when you give a banquet or a dinner or banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or kinsman or rich neighbors. Unless they invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
And then in the following parable, the parable of the Great Supper, you have when those who have been invited to the banquet or reject the banquet invitation, you have then the master, in line 19, page 193. Then the householder, in anger, said to his servant, “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of city and bring the poor and maimed and blind, and lame.” So you have this great concern for the poor.
Turn to page 198. Here you have the parable of the rich man in Lazareth and it's the poor man that goes to Abraham bosom and the rich man is the one who parishes as a result. Then in 228, the last line 19 here is the story of Zacchaeus and verse seven, when they saw it, they being those who oppose Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes. When they saw it they all murmured gone to be a guest of a man who is a sinner. Another reference to the concern for the sinners. So Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, behold Lord my good I give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of them of anything, I restore four fold. And Jesus said, today salvation has come to this house and is also the son of Abraham.
You know it's really interesting. I think most of us probably would find it very easy to preach about the love of God to the poor and the need to help the poor. If we had poor congregations. It's when you have a rich congregation, that it takes more courage to do this. And notice whom Luke is writing to. Most excellent Theophilus.
So he is writing his gospel to a man who is undoubtedly well to do, nobility. And he is emphasizing the concern for the poor. He has a great concern for widows, 204. Here you have this parable of the unjust judge and it shows that women like this, this widow will be vindicated. The whole parable talks about will God ignore the cries his poor, the widows who cry out for justice. No there is a day coming.
And if this unjust judge, just to get rid of this woman's cry will do justice, how much more will her Father in heaven, in that final day, bring justice upon the earth? Whoa to those who are unjust this way. But you who are poor, you who are widows there is a day coming when things will be changed.
We looked already at these references to the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind. And then we can look at the special concern for another outcast group, the Samaritans, and that carries over into the book of Acts.
But there is another emphasis and that is his concern for women. It's a very unusual gospel this way. It fits right in to the concern for treating people equally in our own day. Turn with me to page two. I want you to notice something that is cursed time and time again throughout the book of Luke.
In Luke, chapter 1:5 we have the story of how God visits a man by the name of Zachariah. Now if you go to the next story beginning at verse 26. Now God visits a woman named Mary. Turn to page nine. We have a story, when the purification takes place Jesus is presented in the temple and there is present there and man, and devote man named Anus, let's see ah, okay where does he, oh Simeon, Simeon excuse me.
Now line six, now there was a man whose name was Simeon, a man who is righteous and devote and so forth. Now if you go to line 21 on the next page, verse 36, this is followed by a story of the blessing of the son of God by a woman that follows.
Turn with me to page 73. Here you have a story of a Centurion who comes to Jesus for healing. But turn to the next page, 11:17 on page 75 you have a woman who comes to Jesus. And the woman's story right next to each other.
Turn to page 188. Here you have the parable of the mustard seed in verse 19. It's like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in the garden.
Then turn to the next parable, in verses 20 and 21, top of page 189. And he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God. It is like lemon which a woman took.” A parable about a man followed by a parable about a woman.
Page 194 you have the parable about the lost sheep. At the bottom of the page line five in Luke, verse four. What man of you having a hundred sheep who is lost, when does the 99 in the wilderness and so forth. That's followed by a parable or what woman having ten silver coins.
And he places side by side, stories about men and women He has a great concern for women who are part of the outcast of his day. It's rather ironic in some ways that the new RSV in these two collections of parables which place a parable about a man and a parable of a woman together. And Luke intentionally places them side by side.
The introduce the first parable in each instance a certain man and in the second one a woman. No, they don't have a certain man, a person lost their sheep and then they have a woman losing a coin. And then they have a person having planted a garden and then a woman planted yeast and so forth and so on.
And so I wrote the editor who is one of my professors, Bruce Metzger [phonetic] and I said, that's strange to do that because Luke intentionally throughout his gospel places stories of men and women side by side. And he wrote a very nice note back to me and said that probably the next time they come and discuss those passages in Luke again they will give it careful consideration.
Sometimes you are so eager to maybe have an agenda, and a lot of them in the committee perhaps had a egalitarian agenda that they undid that man and made it a person but they left the person a woman. And Luke puts men and women together. Side by side honoring both. So that he is very much in favor of supporting women that way.
And then if you look at page 67 and you look at the passage on the love of enemies. Again I will press, notice that if you look at the Matthean [phonetic] parallel which is on line 15, you've heard that is was said, you shall love you neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Luke adds, but I say to you love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
You have four lines repeated about the same concern for one's enemies. So there is a great concern in Luke for the outcast of society and if you were interested in understanding something of the implications of the gospel and of Jesus concern for the outcast of society. Luke's the gospel to turn to. The other gospels have this as well, but not to the extent and emphasis as you find in Luke.
When, if you turn to page 31, Luke in his gospel begins with a sermon at the first point where he really can give it. A sermon by Jesus at kinda outlines the whole ministry of Jesus, message and so forth. Right after his baptism, he comes to the city of Nazareth where he was raised. He goes to the synagogue; they gave him a book to read from the prophet Isaiah. He opens it up.
And if you look at line 13 and following verses 18 of Luke four. Jesus reads, the Spirit of the Lord upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering the site to the blind. To set a liberty those were oppressed. to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Close the book, give it back to the attendant, sat down, the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed upon him. Luke is pointing out, every bodies wondering what is he going to say now, and he is drawing our attention as readers to Jesus reply which is very important.
Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. This is the fulfillment of the...but notice preaching good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovering the sight to the blind, liberty for the oppressed and so forth.
And interestingly enough, when in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul gives his testimony. His call to the ministry is repeated now before King Agrippa and in Acts 28, verses, Twenty-six rather verses 16 to 18. He says, and the Lord said to me, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise and stand upon your feet for I have appeared to you for this purpose to appoint you and serve to bear witness to the things you have seen in me. And to those who will try will appear to you delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you. To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light. And the power saying to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins in a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
Same kind of thing Jesus is giving in his message at Nazareth. A great concern in the gospel of Luke for the outcast. In Luke as you might expect, Luke being a Gentile there is a great concern. If you look at the genealogy on page 19, there are a number of differences in the genealogies. We will look at that later on. If you are looking for a perfect explanation to harmonize all these, don't hold your breath.
When we come to them I am going to be very frustrated in myself and I don't know exactly, but here is some suggestions. But the important thing for us now is to know is that when Jesus, when Luke begins his genealogy of Jesus he begins and ends in a different place.
Matthew ends with Abraham. Luke goes beyond Abraham on page 19, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Matthew's Jesus is clearly the fulfillment of the Jewish promises. The Jesus of Luke is the fulfillment of all the promises for everyone.
He is the son of Adam and therefore benefits the Gentile world as well. There are in Luke there are a number of concerns that place the gospel in the framework of the world of his day.
[Turn to page seven, Luke 2:1. Here is the centering of the story of Jesus. In those days a decree went off from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This is the first enrollment. When the [inaudible] was governor of Sirius and went to be enrolled each to its own city.
Takes place in the Roman Empire. In the context of the emperor and the world being taxed and so forth. Then in chapter three once again, verse one, you have another kind of opening this way.
In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar. Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Gala and his brother Phillip tetrarch of the region Iterea and Trachonitis and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene and the high priest of [inaudible] the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zachariah in the wilderness.
See you are getting a placement in not just Judea, but in the world of the Roman Empire. There are various kind of missions that are implied. Turn with me to page 193. Here you have the parable of the Great Supper.
It’s debated exactly as to how this parable of the Great Supper is related to the parable in Matthew. There are numerous differences between them as well as similarities. But one of the differences is as follows. When you have in the, messengers going out to bring people to the banquet, in line 23 of 193.
The masters go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in the poor, maimed and blind and lame. This gives you the immediate area. The servers say, sir when your command has been done and still there is room. And the master said to the servant. Go out to the highways go beyond the hedges and tell people to come in, that my house may be filled.
Most commentators on Luke see this two fold sending out as implying not are the poor and the outcast of Israel all entering the kingdom of God, but those even further out. The Gentiles are entering the kingdom as well.
You have then the explicit mention in regard to the last commission in page 335. Let's look real quickly at that. In verses 46, 47 Jesus says, thus it is written that Christ should suffer on the third day rise from the dead and that repentance and forgiveness of sin should be preached in the name through all nations. Beginning from Jerusalem.
And then you pick that up in Acts 1:8. You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem. Then Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
So you have this universal in Luke as well. Warning concerning riches abound. There is great danger in being wealthy in Luke page 66. Remember he is saying this to Theophilus. You have verses 24 and 25, whoa to you that are rich, at the very bottom of 66, for you have received your constellation. Whoa, that you are full now for you shall hunger.
Page 182, 182, very top of the page you have somebody saying, teacher bid my brother divide the inheritance with me. But, he said, man who made me judge or divider over you. And he said to them, take heed and be aware of all covetousness, for man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
Then you have the following parable of the rich fool, which ends, so is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Page 196, you have the parable of the unjust steward which there talks about making yourselves friends by unrighteous mammon, verse 9. So that when if, when money fails they will receive you in the eternal habitations.
Then you have faithfulness with regard to what you possess in verses 10, 11 and 12. Yeah, there is great concern on this. Uh, repentance and other strong emphasis in the gospel. Forgiveness that we have already looked at and we looked at two other areas, we are not going to repeat the emphasis of the coming of the Spirit. The importance of the Spirit, which it carries over into the book of Acts. Importance on prayer, which likewise carries over and follows in the gospel of Acts, in the book of Acts, excuse me.
Many times people in scholarly circles talk about Luke-Acts. Because you really can't understand one without the other. And if you ever want to know what Luke is getting at in the book of Luke and you are not sure, well the best book next to go to is the book of Acts. Not another gospel but another book. The book written by the same man, with much of the same theme carrying it through. So Luke-Acts, when you preach from Luke, you refer to Acts very easily and visa verse as well.
Now it gives us some of the theological emphasis, needless to say, ah, we have less than an hour to talk about a whole gospel and I can't do a great deal. But, I wanted to show you some of the specific emphasis on the gospel. Somewhat different then Matthew, not contradictory but somewhat specific.
Now with regard to the authorship again it’s an anonymous work. The Moratorium Canon towards the end of the one hundreds maybe 190 or so. Writes the third book of the gospel according to Luke. Luke left [inaudible] after the ascension of Christ when Paul had taken his companion of his journey, composed it in his own name on the bases of report.
Ireneus. about 180, Luke, the follower of Paul recorded in the book the gospel that was preached by him. And later, Luke preached with Paul and was entrusted with handing on the gospel to us. Origin, I would say maybe 200. Is quoted by Eusebius, thirdly that according to Luke who wrote for those who, from the Gentiles the gospel that was praised by Paul.
Eusebius, the great church historian writes around 325. But he is bringing together the traditions he is familiar with that are much earlier. Luke who was by race a Antiochian and a physician by profession was long a companion of Paul and had careful conversation with the other apostles and two books left us examples of the medicine for souls which he had gained from them.
The gospel which he testified that he had planned according to the tradition. Received by those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, all of them he says moreover he had followed from the beginning and the acts of the apostles which he pose, no longer on the evidence of hearing, but of his own eyes.
Teetallon, 190 or so Luke's gospel is described as the gospel of his masters. Again, you have very strong tradition. Once again you have to realize that the non-apostle is attributed this book. Which I think lends weight to the care and the credibility I think of that tradition.
This connection with the book of Acts I think is very clear. Acts refers specifically to the preceding book, it talks about the same person being the same recipient of that book. In the first book Otheotheus [phonetic] dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up.
All right, you go through chapters one of Luke to 24, he ascends to heaven. And then you have here, in verse four, while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of Father, he said you heard from me. For John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit comes at the day of Pentecost.
And the once again in 1:8 they are told to remain for that coming of the Spirit. So, the style is alike the vocabulary is alike, there is reference in the book of Act 2 the proceeding book. I think you have to be extremely skeptical that they same author did not write both books. Its kind of, you know if you are that skeptical, you can get to the place where he said Jesus never lived or something like that. Are you going to be negative in regard to, but the evidence I think is irrefutable that Luke, the gospel was written by the same author as the Acts of the Apostles.
Now, let me refer to these three resections in the book of Acts. In Acts 16:10 to 17. We have the first we section. Okay now in the proceeding for instance verses you read, when she was baptized with the household, let me read a few verses earlier so we get a context. And they went through the region Freesia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come opposite Mysia, verse nine. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night, a man of Macedonia was standing and beseeching him and saying come over to Macedonia and help us. And when he had seen the vision immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had us to preach the gospel to them. Setting sail therefore for Troas, we made a direct voyage.
Alright now after you get to the verse 17 you go, verse 16 reads as we were going to the place of prayer we were met by a slave girl who had a [inaudible] and brought her own as much gain by sooth saying. She followed Paul and us, saying these men are servants of the most high God
Now you have, and this she did for many days with Paul was annoyed and turned to said the Spirit, but when her own, from now on it's back to the third person. The we is all gone. Now when you get to chapter 20:5 the we section begins again. Verse one of chapter 20 after the [inaudible] Paul sent for the disciples and having exhorted them took leave. When had gone through these parts and so forth.
Then in verse five, these went on and were waiting for us at Troas. But we sailed, verse seven on the first [inaudible] We were gathered. And so from 20:5 to 21:18 you have another we section where everything is in the first person plural.
But then in verse 19 of chapter 21, we switch back to the third person. But, in chapter 27 to 28:16 we have another we section. I think the author of Acts is saying I was there. The we, is not some sort of genre or some sort of a pretending a situation. It's a real we. We were together in these at this time.
There have been attempts to discredit that and say there was a particular we journey form genre that Luke is using here, which after about a decade of that, Cilea nous. they realized there was never was a genre to start with. It's clearly a claim by the author that he is part of that.
That helps us with regard to trying to understand the authorship of this book. Because you can roughly put together from Paul's letters who his companions were. If you went through the letters of Paul, you can list Timothy, Barnabas, Luke the physician, Tychicus and you can list them all out.
Now if you look through the we sections, they mention a lot of these people in the third person. When we came to such and such place there, we saw Timothy. Well you know Timothy can't be one of the we person with Paul here. And you can eliminate them, those that are specifically mentioned. Now do you, you don't eliminate everyone but one, but you narrow down considerably the people we know are associated with Paul who are not mentioned objectively as not being in the we group. And one of them is Luke. One of them is Luke, so that I think helps support the Luke authorship as not a perfect proof that way, but it helps.
A man by the name of Hobart in the nineteenth century tried to prove that this book had to be written by a physician, Luke-Acts, because he has particular concern in describing the illnesses and the healing of various people. And Hobart argued that this was written by a physician and that all accords with that Luke was the physician.
Well, I am trying to think of the man's name that did a Harvard dissertation on the subject. But what he did was to look at other writings of intelligent people of that first century or so. And notice various use of medical terminology and he found out that other people who were not physicians could write using some of that language. And so it was not proof that a physician had to write that particular of work. I wish I would remember his name right now. But there was a little ditty at Harvard that he received his doctrine from Harvard, but taking away the doctrine of the author of Luke-Acts. So, he didn't have to be a doctor to of written this.
I think there is evidence this fits nicely a doctor even though you can't prove that it had to be a doctor. And I would support Luke in authorship as well. Luke is referred to of course as Luke the physician in Colossians 4:14.
With regards to his sources, we have Mark we have that Q-material, we have that L-material. Noticing that some of the we sections are written during a stay in Palestine, where this information was possible. We for instance in the book of Acts notice that he talks about the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, and we find out that in one of the we sections of Acts he stays in the home of Philip, the evangelist who is one who leads the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ. What better would you have gotten that story then from Philip himself?
Luke does not have as much of Mark as Matthew has. He has the same amount of Q-material, can you guess why? Well the only way you know Q is if they both have it, so they have to have the same amount. But then if you look at the L-material you will have a great deal more. Whether some of this L-material also was Q-material is impossible to say.
As to the Audience of Luke, the tradition suggest that he wrote to Gentiles most excellent Theophilus. As I say that is used of the governors of Judea, Felix twice and Festus once. I think I mentioned Agrippa, but it's not Agrippa, but Felix and Fetus the governors of Judea.
You have some other suggestions. If you look at page 40 for a minute, you have Luke doing something to his mark and account. When you get to line 14:4 in Mark, and when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him. And when they had made an opening they unroofed the roof, and the word used made an opening as a word used for digging your canal, gouging out an eye, it's a digging kind of thing. Talks, well what do you do? What kinda of roof is it that you dig out? Well a mud thatch kinda roof that was typical in Palestine.
But when you get to Luke, you have him saying because of the crowd they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.
This looks like it’s a home outside of Palestine and the kind of home that Theophilus was familiar with which would have tile roofs and so, to show how he was lowered through the roof. Luke used the vocabulary of going through a tile roof.
Page 67, you have another change in these two sayings. If you look at line six, Matthew has do not resist one who is evil but if anyone strikes you on the right check turn to him the other also.
If anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well. what is envisioned here is a legal situation in Israel where you could sue a person for the inter-garment which here is referred to as the coat. But, you could not sue him for the outer garment which was a cloak, because a person slept as well in their cloak and take would give him warmth and he needed that for life. So that humanitarian reasons would say you can take the underwear but you can't have the pants or something like that, right cause you need the outer one for warmth.
Well, Luke has it if anyone would take from you your coat; do not withhold even your shirt. He has the same work in a theft situation, which probably be more understanding to a Gentile who would not know about the suing for clothing and so forth. And here you have a reversal. Because you can't hold up a person and steal his shorts. The first thing you take is his pants. So now, he had the outer garment being taken. And the inter-garment left and so forth and so on.
Now this is an example of hyperbole here and needless to say, if somebody steals you pants, you also say would you like my shorts as well. But, you simple say, don't resist, turn your other cheek kinda mentality.
And it looks like this is being [audience laughter]. I have to remember that sometimes you say things that are even more witty or more embarrassing. It's all according of how you look at it than the other.
All right, let us go on quickly. Now, as to the dating of this if Luke is using Mark it has to be written after Mark, which is towards the end of the sixties. They are a couple places in the book of Luke that looks like it might be referring to things that involve the fall of Jerusalem and describing that.
Turn with me to page 369, oh excuse me 236, 236. Here you have Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and verses 43 and following he says, for the days will come upon you when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you and hem you in on every side and dash you to the ground and you and your children with in you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you because you did not know the time of your visitation.
Some have suggested that this looks like it is describing some of the some of the events in the fall of Jerusalem. Another words, Jesus predicted the fall of Jerusalem and in that prediction Luke now dots the i's and crosses the t's that Jesus gave about the destruction and makes it more specific.
Turn to page 258, for another one of those. Here you have in Luke 21:20, when you, at that very bottom of 258, but when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies you know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea and flea to the mountains and so forth and then in verse 24 they will fall by the edge of the sword and be lead captive among all nations. And Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Some have suggested in, I don't think you would be dogmatic on that. But, it looks like he maybe was describing this from the prospective of what has happened in Jerusalem and said Jesus has predicted this, which he of course did. And that would suggest it also a post A.D. 70 in that regard.