Monday, January 11, 2016

7 Key Themes in Luke's Gospel

Today we begin our 50-day journey through the Gospel According to Luke! This journey will include 5 daily readings per week (Monday-Friday). We will take the weekends "off" for personal study, refreshment, and Sabbath. 

As we begin this journey together, I thought it might be helpful to list a few of the key themes that we will encounter as we read Luke's gospel account.

God's Plan
More than the other gospel writers, Luke develops a fairly comprehensive view of "salvation history." He traces the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam, which connects the work of Jesus to the very beginning of creation. And only Luke includes the story of the Ascension and the promise that Jesus will return in the same way he departed.  

Salvation for All People
Part of God's plan is the promise of salvation for all people. Luke clearly depicts Jesus as the Savior of the entire world. 

Table Fellowship
Jesus eats a lot in Luke's gospel! It seems that he is always either going to a meal, eating a meal, or leaving from a meal. Many of the parables also involve meals as a central aspect of the story. After his resurrection, Jesus reveals his identity to the two companions on the road to Emmaus while they are eating a meal together (breaking bread!). 

Role of Women
Women play a more prominent role in Luke's gospel. This is especially true in the first two chapters, in which Elizabeth and Mary are the two central figures. 

Poverty and Wealth
Luke refers to poverty and wealth more than any other gospel. The teachings of Jesus that Luke includes in his gospel often focus on the proper use of our possessions. Only Luke includes Mary's Magnificat and the parable of the Lazarus and the Rich Man. 

The Importance of Prayer
Prayer is a central theme in the Gospel of Luke. Many important events occur in the context of prayer. When Jesus is baptized, it is "while he was praying" that the heavens opened and the voice declared "you are my Son, the Beloved." Likewise, on the Mount of Transfiguration, it is "while Jesus is praying" that he is transformed and his glory is revealed. Prayer is the context for transformation in Luke's gospel! 

The Power of the Holy Spirit
Finally, the role of the Holy Spirit is an vital element in Luke's narrative. Over and over again, we are told that Jesus performs his ministry in "the power of the Holy Spirit" or "while being filled with the Spirit." The power of the Holy Spirit will continue to be a central focus in the Acts of the Apostles, which was also written by Luke (it is sort of a second volume to his Gospel). 

As we read through Luke's Gospel, watch for theme important themes. Happy reading! 

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