Luke: The Gentile Physician and Historian and His Gospel Of The Sinless Son of Man
Thank you for your work on Luke for Wednesday night's class.
Kevin Bacon pointed out in his recap for an earlier BTCL class: "Now that we have surveyed Luke you may want to watch "The Jesus Film" since it is based on the life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke". Here is the cite: https://www.jesusfilm.org/watch.html
Recap of Luke:
Our objectives for the night were:
-That we understand Luke's gospel in contrast to Matthew, Mark, and John
-That we will be motivated to continue to serve the Lord Jesus as we see his person and work more clearly
-That we love him more as a result of reading Luke's account of the life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ
We began by examining the gospels in terms of their uniqueness on manual page 24. We looked at the purposes and select verses from the four gospel writers, also often called, "the evangelists", i.e. those who recorded the "good news". Be sure and note the Harmony of the Gospels, between John and Acts and the emphases of each of the writers.
We looked at the beginnings of the four gospels and the purpose stated by Luke and John
Matthew 1:1-18 and 1:22. Matt opens his book with the genealogy of the Lord beginning with David, ending with Joseph, thus the legal line of Jesus’ adoptive father. Then in 1:22, he gives us the phrase that bookends the gospel, "God with us", echoed in 28:20 in the Lord's statement, "I am with you always, even to the very end of the age".
Mark 1:1 and 10:45. Mark jumps right into his account with the messenger, John the Baptist, announcing the coming of the Messiah. Mark's purpose is to present the Son of Man who, "did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many”. Mk.10:45
Luke 1:1-4 and 19:10. Luke begins with his purpose for writing, "...so that you (Theophilus) may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Then in 19:10 he gives the Lord's declaration, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost". In the genealogy Luke presents in chapter 3, the lineage of the Lord is traced from Joseph (Mary's blood line as well) to Adam, thus emphasizing the "Son of Man" aspect of Jesus' personhood.
John 1:1-2 and 20:30. In chapter 1, John goes to eternity past to begin his gospel and shows the preexistent aspect of the person of Lord Jesus. In 20:30 he gives his purpose for writing, "...that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name".
We noted that when we look at the styles of the documents, Matthew, Luke, and John are like long narrative emails while Mark is like "Twitter". Again, see page 24 in your manual for a comparison of the four gospels.
Luke wrote both books of Luke and Acts; together they make up about 20% of the New Testaments content. (28% in Greek) That means that Luke, as a human author, wrote more of the New Testament (by total words) than anyone else, even Paul! There are more parables in Luke than the other Gospels, in all 28 listed in the NIV near Luke 16.( Refer to chart on the Parables of Jesus, in the NIV Study Bible found between Luke 15 and 16.)
In his gospel, Luke emphasizes the person of the Holy Spirit and according to NT Scholar A.T. Roberson, uses the exact phrase, "the Holy Spirit " 53 times in Luke/Acts, 12 times in the gospel, thus 41 times in the book of Acts. Matthew uses this designation 5 times, Mark and John, 4 times each. (There are other uses of "Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ” meaning, the Holy Spirit).
In your course manual, the Gospel of Luke is divided into four main sections:
1. Introduction and Advent of Christ 1:1 - 4:13
2. Ministry as Messiah 4:14 - 9:50
3. Rejection and Response 9:51 - 19:27
4. Accomplishment of Mission 19:28 - 24:53
As the intro to Luke in your NIV Study Bible states under, “ Plan”, Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry can be divided geographically into three parts, 1) events in/around Galilee, in the North, 4:14-9:502) those that took place in Judea and Perea, 9:51-19:27 3) those of the final week in Jerusalem, the place of the triumphal entry, six trials, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus, 19:28-24:53
We can remember this structure of Luke by the simple words/phrases, Galilee, Judea and Perea, Jerusalem.
This map is similar to the one in your manual on page 27 and color map #11 in the back of your NIV.
In the chart on manual page 50, Dennis boils the book down to two simple sections: 1:1-19:27 deals with Jesus seeking the lost; 19:28-24:53 deals with him saving the lost.
Key verse: 19:10. "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
An easy anchor for remembering the key verse is the section of chapter 15 containing the three parables, lost sheep, lost coin, lost son. (The last known as the "Prodigal Son"; prodigal simply means, "exceedingly or recklessly wasteful".) In terms of "lostness" these three extended similes move in sequence from a 1-out-of-100, to 1-out-of-10, to one-out-of-one. In the parable of the lost son, Luke masterfully takes us to the bottom line; the son is lost, the father loves him and receives his repentant son back. That which was lost is now found. A loving father receives his wayward son. Theologically, it took the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus to make such a reconciliation possible.
You all did a good job with the table assignment on the Lk.15:1-32, “The Lost Sheep, Coin, Son”. Note how the “Who” question posed to v. 1-2 opens up the passage. Two types of people present, two types of hearts on display. In terms of heart condition, notice how this reminds us of the types of soil in the parable of the sower and the soils in 8:5-15.
Below is the painting we showed in class.
One writer in Wikipedia says: "Standing at the right is the prodigal son's older brother, who crosses his hands in judgment; in the parable he objects to the father's compassion for the sinful son…” Sounds like Jonah’s attitude, doesn’t it!
The bottom line of the parable is the picture of the loving/forgiving father. This would be endearing to the portion of the audience who were, “tax collectors and sinners”, and convicting to the other portion of the audience, the muttering, “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” Notice how the contrast, “But”, in v. 2 gives us a strong clue as to the heart issues at play.
Praise the Lord Jesus for seeking and saving us, now we have the opportunity to serve him! One application we made from the book of Luke was that we have the attitude the Mary had in Luke 1:38 when she said, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said". This was a declaration of the virgin presenting of herself to the Lord for his purposes rather than her own. May that be our attitude as we continue to grow in our love for the Lord Jesus.
1. Some of you may have a question on John the Baptist being a Nazarite. Look in the study notes at Lk. 1:15. Read Numbers 6:1-4 and study note. The "Nazarite" vow was a voluntary one taken by men or women as an act of dedication, typically for a limited time rather than for life. For contrast, see 1Sam 1:9-11 and study note where Hannah dedicates Samuel to the Lord for life. "Nazarite" is from the Hebrew word nazar, "to dedicate". Notice that the Index to Study Notes takes you through the facts associated with the "Nazarite Vow".
Luke does not say that John would fulfill all of the aspects of the Nazarite vow but John did take on a Nazarite vow of not drinking wine. Note that John is not called a Nazarite. The Lord Jesus is called Jesus of Nazareth, not having to do with a Nazarite vow but his place of origin (where he grew up), i.e. Nazareth.
Summary: Though not called a "Nazarite" in scripture, John the Baptist took on specific aspects of the Nazarite Vows; the Lord Jesus was a "Nazarene", i.e. from the village of Nazareth, thus a Nazarene. Contrast Nazarite from "to dedicate”, with Nazareth, a village whose name possibly/probably comes from the noun "branch", Hebrew neser.
2. An earlier BTCL student asked about the geographical comparison of the New Testament era land mass and the distribution in the Old Testament of the land among the 12 tribes. See the color maps in the back of your NIV for maps #4 and #11; "Land of the 12 Tribes" and "Jesus Ministry" to compare geographical area.
J.Carl Laney says, "Galilee means 'circle' or 'district', the fuller expression of which is 'district of the Gentiles’ (Isa.9:1 and Matt.4:15) The term was applied to the northern district of Palestine, which was surrounded on three sides by foreign (Gentile) nations". Fascinatingly, Is. 9:1 gives us the prophetic significance of the area "...but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan..." As well, this is quoted in Matt. 4:15 and included portions of the land allotted to Asher, Zebulun, Naphtali, and Issachar. (See Josh. 19:10-39)
Thus, New Testament Galilee covered roughly the inheritance of Asher, Zebulun, Naphtali, and Issachar.
3. You may have wondered from where the term, “Palestine”, comes. Here is a good article on the term.
4. Here is a fuller treatment on our discussion of, “Repent and Believe”: In class we noted the two-action step of repenting and believing. John Grassmick has a good summary of these two concepts.
Repent: to turn away from an existing object of trust.
Believe: to commit oneself wholeheartedly to an object of faith, i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ.
Repent, to turn “from" and “to”. The question is: What is the object of one’s trust in order to receive the forgiveness of one’s sin and to be made right with God? In the historical context of the gospel accounts, typically the Jews were trusting in their keeping the Law, knowing (i.e. head knowledge of) the the Word of God, and the temple system to put them in right standing before the LORD. See: Mk. 10:17-27; Mt. 21:42-46; John 11:45-52
Author Tom Constable writes this in his commentary on Mark:
The Jews needed to make a double response since the kingdom of God was at hand. They needed to "repent" and "believe." These two words call for successive actions, but the action is really one act that involves two steps taken almost simultaneously. Repenting involves turning from something, and believing involves embracing something else. For example, a drowning man who is clinging to a scrap of wood needs to do two things when a lifeguard reaches him. He needs to release the wood and entrust himself to the lifeguard.
When John the Baptist called the Jews to repent, he urged them to abandon their former hope of salvation because the Lifeguard was there to save them. When Jesus said, "Believe in the gospel," He meant, "Believe the good news that Messiah is here." Messiah was the subject of the gospel and the object of belief.
This is the only occurrence of the phrase "believe in [Gr. en] the gospel" in the New Testament. It points to the gospel as the basis of faith.
Assignment for Wednesday, September 11, 2019:
-For review of Luke, what are the four hymns in the early portion of the book?
-Read the gospel of John and the appropriate pages in the course manual.
-Make note of any differences you see between the synoptic gospels and John
-On page 68 select one of the passages and give the main idea taught by the passage.
Thank you for your work as we continue our journey through the gospels. Lord willing, I will see you Wednesday.