· Written about AD60
· Like Mark, the intended audience is Greek-speaking gentiles
· Emphasis on prayer, and women (focus on Mary at the start; annunciation; Anne the prophetess in chapter 2; Martha and Mary of Bethany and other followers of Jesus mentioned later)
· Emphasis on the work of the Spirit – John the Baptist and Jesus’ parents are filled with the Spirit (1:15, 41, 67), and Simeon is a man of the Spirit (2:25-27). Jesus is conceived by the Spirit (1:15, 41, 67), empowered by the Spirit (3:22, 4:1, 14, 18), the baptiser of others with the Spirit (3:16). He teaches that the Father gives the Spirit (11:13), he warns of blasphemy against the Spirit (12:10), he promises that the Spirit will instruct the disciples (12:12), and after his resurrection he promises that the Spirit will come to clothe the disciples (24:49).
· Emphasis on joy – eg hymns of the infancy narratives (1:46-55, 68-79; 2:30-32); Jesus comes to replace mourning with laughter (6:21); angelic rejoicing accompanies his ministry (2:13f; 15:10 – unique to Luke). Repentance brings joy (15:7, 10, 23, 32; 19:6). The book ends with the disciples experiencing ‘great joy’ and continually blessing God (24:52f). Luke’s vision of Jesus is that he brings joy.
· Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan are unique to Luke
· Emphasises that Jesus committed no crime against the Roman Empire
· Conzelmann, The Theology of Luke (1960): Luke toned down Mark’s expectation of an imminent end and prepared the way for an indefinite church age, in which Christians would have to live as disciples of Christ in the long haul through history. He argues that Luke divides redemptive history (Heilsgeschichte) into three distinct periods: Israel, Jesus, and the Church. The era of Jesus is ‘Satan-free’ – based on 4:13 (Satan leaving Jesus after the temptation) and 22:3 (Satan entering Judas). This era historicised in a way that it isn’t in Mark. John the Baptist is firmly placed in the old order (16:16). In the apocalyptic discourse, though Luke reproduces Mark’s ‘generation’ saying, he inserts into the discourse the words, ‘and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled’ (21:24).
Account written to Theophilus. A priest Zacharias, whose wife, Elizabeth, is barren, has a visitation from an angel in the temple telling him that he will bear a son, which will be called John. He will not drink alcohol – probably a reference to him being a Nazirite (compare Hannah in 1 Samuel, who is also barren, also has a visitation, and also bears a Nazirite son, Samuel). Zacharias says he is an old man; the angel says he will not be able to speak until the day of his son’s birth. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary (betrothed to Joseph), telling her that she will bear a son called Jesus, who will be called the Son of the Highest. Mary visits Elizabeth, and the as yet unborn John leaps in his mother’s womb. Mary is perplexed becase she has not known man, but Gabriel says the Holy Spirit will come upon her. Mary’s song magnifies the Lord, praising Him for pulling down the mighty from their thrones, and exalting the lowly. Elizabeth and Zacharias both resist calls to name John after his father. Zacharias refinds his voice. Zacharias prophesies: his son will be called the prophet of the Highest, and go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways. John goes to live in the desert.
Caesar Augustus decrees that there should be a census. Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem. There is no room in the inn, so the infant Jesus is laid in a manger. Angels appear to the shepherds. The shepherds visit the child, and spread the word about him. Mary ponders all these things in her heart. Jesus is circumcised and presented in the temple after the eight days period of Mary’s ceremonial uncleanness. Simeon says he can now depart in peace, having seen the the Lord’s salvation, and the light to bring revelation to the Gentiles. Simeon says that Jesus is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel. Anna, an old prophetess, gives thanks to the Lord. Mary and Joseph return to Nazareth. One Passover in Jerusalem, Jesus is lost, and found in the temple teaching and learning. Questioned by his parents, he says they should have known He was about his Father’s business. Mary keeps all these things in her heart.
In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, John preaches a message of repentance and starts a ministry of baptism. Isaiah is quoted: prepare the way of the Lord. John warns that claiming Abraham as one’s ancestor is no guarantee of salvation, and that trees that do not bear good fruit are cast into the fire. John tells of one who will baptise not with water, but with the Holy Spirit. John rebukes Herod for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife. Jesus is baptised and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove. A voice from the heaven declares, ‘You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’ Jesus’ genealogy – he differs from Matthew in giving his actual lineage through Mary, rather than his legal lineage through Joseph.
Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. The temptations are to turn stone to bread, to command kingdoms (looked at from a high vantage point), and to throw himself from the temple. Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. In the synagogue, he reads Isaiah 61:1-2, about preaching the gospel to the poor, and proclaiming liberty to the captives and oppressed. He declares the scripture is fulfilled. Jesus says that no propget is accepted in his own country, and cites Elijah helping the widow of Zarephath and Elisha healing the Syrian Naaman – both gentiles. Jesus walks through a murderous mob who seek to throw him off a hill. Jesus casts out an unclean spirit in Capernaum. Peter’s mother-in-law is healed of a fever. Many who are sick and demon-possessed are cured. Jesus tours throughout Galilee, resisting the call to stay in one place.
Jesus teaches from a boat at Gennesaret. There is a miraculous catch of fish. The first four disciples are called. A leper begs help of Jesus, and receives it. Jesus tells the leper to only tell the priests to whom he makes an offering. Jesus’ fame increases, however. The Pharisees are offended because Jesus pardons sins, but Jesus replies that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. Levi the tax collector follows Jesus. Jesus dines with Levi and other sinners, telling the Pharisees that he has come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The Pharisees ask why his disciples do not fast. Jesus says the friends of the bridegroom do not fast when the bridegroom is with them. New wineskins in old bottles.
Pharisees accuse disciples of plucking grain on the Sabbath. Jesus cites David eating the showbread in 1 Samuel 2:1-6. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus prays all night before choosing the apostles.
The Sermon on the Plain:
· Beatitudes (Luke understands ‘the poor’ in social and financial terms, distinct from Matthew’s ‘the poor in spirit’, ie those humble before God)
· Woe to the rich, the full, those who laugh, those to whom all men peak well
· Love your enemies and do not retaliate
· Judge not
· The blind cannot lead the blind
· Do not look at the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own
· Every tree is known by it fruit
· Those who hear and do are like the wise man who built his house with a deep foundation
Jesus is aked to heal a centurion’s servant at Capernaum. The centurion says that Jesus doesn’t need to come to his house, and the servant is healed. Jesus brings a man back from the dead at a funeral procession. John’s disciples ask if he is the Messiah – he tells them to report the healings he has performed. Jesus says that the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist. Jesus admonishes those who refuse to be pleased by either His ministry or John’s. A sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet. When Simon the Pharisee objects, Jesus tells him that those with greater debts are more grateful when their debts are waived than those with smaller. Jesus forgives the woman’ sins.
Jesus has twelve disciples, and is also followed by some women – Mary Magdalene, Joanna wife of Chuza, Herod’s teward, and Susanna. The parable of the sower – not understood by everyone. Lamps are not hidden. Whoever has, to him more shall be given; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. Jesus’ mother and brother are all those who hear the word of God. Jesus fall asleep in a boat that gets caught up in a storm; he wakes, and calms the storm. Many demons (‘Legion’) come out of a man and possess a herd of swine, that run into a lake. The healed man proclaims Jesus throughout the vicinity. A woma I healed of her hemorrhage by touching Jesus’ garment. Jarius’ daughter is brought back from the dead. Jesus tells the parents not to tell anybody.
Jesus gives his disciple authority over demons, and sends them out. They do not need much, and they are to shake the dust from their feet when leaving a city does is not receptive. Herod is confused as to who Jesus is. Jesus feeds the five thousand. Peter declares his conviction that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus predicts that the Son of Man must suffer. Those who wish to follow Jesus must take up their cross. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and vice versa. The Son of Man in his glory will be ashamed of whoever is ashamed of Him. The transfiguration occurs. Moses and Elijah appear, and Peter suggests making tabernacles for them. Jesus heals a child the disciples were unable to help. Jesus predicts his betrayal. Receiving a child is the same as receiving Jesus. The least will become great. Jesus does not object to someone casting out demons in his name – for whoever is not against us is for us. A Samaritan village does not receive Jesus, but he rejects the disciples’ calls to destroy the place with fire, as Elijah did. Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Following Jesus is top priority – let the dead bury their own dead.
Jesus appoints and sends out seventy disciples as lambs amongst wolves. They are to travel light, offering peace on a house, or having it returned to them. Those who reject the disciples reject Jesus. The seventy report back their successes, and Jesus says he sees Satan falling from heaven. Jesus prays, thanking the Father for revealing things to babes and concealing them from the wise. A lawyer asks what he must do to inherit eternal life – he cites the shema, and the injunction to love your neighbour, but then asks who his neighbour is. Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus stays at the house of Martha and Mary. Martha busies herself with serving, whereas Mary simply sits and his feet and listens to him. Jesus commends Mary’s inactivity.
The disciples ask to be taught how to pray, so Jesus teaches them the Lord’s Prayer. Persistence in prayer is required, like a man who must persist in asking his friend for loaves to feed a visitor at midnight. Seek and you will find. Jesus rejects the claim that he casts out demons by the power of Beelzebub. Jesus points out the danger of delivering a person from demonic possession without filling their life with Jesus. They can end up worse than before, host to many demons rather than just one. the queen of the South (the queen of Sheba) and the men of Nineveh preached to by Jonah were both Gentiles, but they had a more open heart to the things of God than the religious people of Jesus’ day, who would not believe and demanded signs. Be full of light. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their concern for merely external matters – their cup and dish are clean, but their inward parts are full of greed and wickedness. Woes due to the Pharisees on account of their seeking after respect and honour. Woe unto lawyers also, who honour dead prophets while rejecting living ones.
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Do no fear persecution, but fear Him who has the power to cast you into hell after death. If God remembers sparrows, He will not forget you. The Son of Man will confess those who confess him. Words against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will assist you when you are brought up against magistrates or other authorities. The parable of the rich fool, who lay up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. God will look after you – the lilies neither toil nor spin, yet are richer in their array than Solomon. Store treasure in heaven. Be ready with burning lamps, for you do not know at what hour the Son of Man is coming. Jesus came to send fire on the earth. Now is the time to get things right with God – not when you are up before him in judgment.
Jesus says that Galileans killed by Pilate at a sacrifice, and eighteen people killed by a falling tower at Siloam, were not worse sinners than anyone else. God will look for fruit, like a farmer looks for fruit on a fig tree – if the fruit is not forthcoming, the tree will be destroyed. Jesus rebukes those who criticise him for healing a woman who is bent over on the Sabbath. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, and leaven. We must strive to enter through the narrow gate to salvation, which will eventually be shut, causing wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus laments for Jerusalem and its unwillingness, saying he has desired to gather its children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings (compare Ruth 2:12).
Jesus defends himself against those who criticise him for healing on the Sabbath. At a wedding feast, do not take the highest place on your own initiative. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted, and vice versa. Invite to dinner the poor who cannot repay you. Parable about a great feast: those invited made excuses, so the poor and dispossessed were invited instead. To follow Jesus, we must hate our family members, and our very lives. Salt that has lost its flavour is good for nothing.
There is more rejoicing about the recovery of one lost sheep than there is about ninety-nine who never went missing. A lost coin that is found is also a matter for rejoicing. The parable of the Prodigal Son.
The parable of the dishonest steward: a steward who is about to be fired curries favor with his master's debtors by writing off some of their debts. The master commends him. He who is unrighteous in small things (like money) will also be unrighteous in big things. You cannot serve God and Mammon. Parable: the beggar Lazarus sits at the gate of the rich man. Both die: Lazarus goes to Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man to hell. The rich man asks Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool his tongue, but he is denied. The rich man warns to warn his brothers, but is told that they have Moses and the prophets for this purpose.
Forgive a brother who offends against you and then repents, even if he does so seven times a day. Even a mustard-seed of faith would be sufficient to make a mulberry tree uproot itself and be planted in the sea. Dutiful care is expected of us, as it is of servants. Jesus heals ten lepers, and only one (a Samaritan) thanks him. In response to a question from the Pharisees about when the kingdom of God will come, Jesus replies that the kingdom of God is to be found within. Beware of false Messiahs. Jesus must suffer and be rejected. Moral corruption (similar to that in the days of Noah, or in Sodom) will form the backdrop to the coming of the Son of Man. Do not be attached to things you must forsake, like Lot’s wife. When Jesus comes, some will be taken suddenly and others will be left behind.
Parable: a judge who does not fear God grants the petition of a widow simply because she had been persistent. God will avenge his elect much more. The Pharisee who thanks heaven he is not like other men is less pleasing to God than the tax collector who prays for mercy. The humble will be exalted, and vice versa. Jesus uses children as examples of humility. A rich man obeys all the commandments, but cannot bear to sell all that he has. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Those who have forsaken family to follow Jesus (such as the disciples) will be rewarded. Jesus predicts his suffering, death and resurrection, but the disciples do not understand. Jesus heals a blind man.
The short tax-collector Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus. Jesus sees him, and invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house for dinner. Zacchaeus renounces his sin and Jesus proclaims his salvation. Parable: a master gives his servants ten minas each, and condemns the servant who does not invest it. Jesus tells his disciples to fetch him a colt. Jesus rides on the colt into Jerusalem, lauded by the people. Jesus prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus cleanses the temple.
Jesus outwits those who ask him on those authority he works. Parable about the owner of the vineyard, whose servants were abused by his tenants, then his son killed. Jesus cites Psalm 118, about the rejected stone becoming the cornerstone. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. A Sadducee asks a question about a woman who marries seven times. Jesus replies that in heaven, there is no marrying or giving in marriage, and that those in heaven are equal to the angels. God is the God not of the living, but of the dead. The Messiah is the lord of David as well as his son. Jesus warns against scribes, who crave honour.
The poor widow who donates a small amount to the treasury is more valuable than the donations of the rich. Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple. False Messiahs will come. Nation will rise against nation, and there will be earthquakes, famines and persecution. Flee to the mountains when Judea is surrounded by armies. Jerusalem will be trampled by the gentiles until the time of the gentiles is over. The Son of Man will come with glory. This generation will by no means pass away until these things come to pass. Live well in preparation for the second coming.
Satan enters Judas, who betrays Jesus. The Last Supper. Bread = body, wine = blood of the new covenant. Jesus predicts thst woe shall befall his betrayer. Jesus intervenes in a squabble about who is the most important disciple, saying the greatness emerges paradoxically, through service. The disciples will sit on thrones in God’s kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times. Jesus prays at the Mount of Olives: he asks that the cup is taken from him, and he is strengthened by an angel. Jesus rouses the sleeping disciples and instructs them to pray. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. A disciple (unnamed here, but identified as Peter in John) cuts off the right ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus heals the ear, and submits to his arrest. Peter denies Jesus three times before the cock crows. Jesus is blindfolded, beaten and mocked. Before the Sanhedrin, Jesus confirms that he is the Son of God.
Pilate appears before Pilate, then Herod, then Pilate again. Herod and Pilate become friends. The crowd insists that Jesus be crucified, and Barabbas released. Pilate is reluctant, but acquiesces to the people. The Cyrenian Simon bears Jesus’ cross. Jesus tells the daughters of Jerusalem to weep not for him, but for themselves, and for impending calamities. Jesus is crucified between two criminals. ‘Father forgive them, for they know now what they do.’ Onlookers mock him. An inscription reading ‘This is the King of the Jews’ is written above him. A criminal on the cross finds salvation. There is darkness across the earth when Jesus dies, and the veil of the temple is torn in two. Jesus is buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
Women followers of Jesus discover the tomb empty, and the stone rolled away. Two men in shining garments say that Jesus has risen. The women tell the apostles and are not believed. Peter visits the tomb personally, and marvels. Jesus joins two disciples on the way to Emmaus, but they do not recognize him until he breaks bread. Jesus appears to the eleven disciples. Jesus explains that his suffering was necessary. Jesus ascends to heaven. The apostles return to Jerusalem.