Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Gospel of Luke - Part 6 (final)

This is the last post on our review of the Gospel of Luke. Unique in many ways, Luke gives enormous details to events that help us better understand the experiences of Jesus. While all the Gospels retell parables, Luke offers 24 parables, more than any other Gospel, and 18 of them are unique to Luke’s writing. We understand a parable to be a simple story that illustrates a moral or spiritual lesson. In Luke’s account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper, we see a “living parable” which is to act out at lesson as a teaching tool. 

Besides parables, Luke recounts events such as the Last Supper. The Jewish people celebrate Passover every year, to remember God’s redemption in freeing them from Egyptian bondage. Based on Exodus 6:6-7, these are the 4 things they are to remember at their Passover Seder (or meal): I will bring you out; I will deliver you; I will redeem you; I will take you as My people. Passover is also called Feast of the Unleavened Bread. They retell the Exodus story, eat bitter herbs and unleavened bread, and sing songs of praise ending with the Great Hallel (or Hallelujah). The 4th cup of wine is then consumed after the Great Hallel, representing grace as “fruit of the vine”. In the New Testament, the Last Supper is, also, a Passover meal, but Jesus offers only 3 cups of wine, ending with singing but no 4th cup, because through crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus becomes the 4th cup - Grace. Today we still celebrate the Lord’s Supper, taking the bread and the cup to remember Jesus, a Living Sacrifice for all.

It is good to refresh our memories of Paul’s Missionary Journeys and ultimate arrest and return to Rome. During his second journey, Paul meets Luke. From then on, Luke travels with Paul, interviewing many people, some eye-witnesses of Jesus, as he writes the Gospel account. Luke also writes Acts. This is a fascinating approach to study Luke, looking for whom he must have interacted and interviewed. The “Luke-only” inclusions give us insight into people and places in the life of Jesus on earth, to include His arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection.

In conclusion, there is much more we could study and explore in the Gospel of Luke. An abundance of details, special circumstances, numerous points of contact, and historical and political influences make Luke’s retelling of Jesus’s story an outstanding historical account. One of my favorite events that only Luke recounts is the “Road to Emmaus” (Luke 24:13-35). These two discouraged followers of Jesus head home, assuming the arrest and crucifixion and burial of Jesus is the end. Unrecognized, Jesus walks with them, teaching them many things about the meaning of the Scriptures. They invite Jesus to stay for a meal and in the breaking of bread “their eyes were opened and they recognized” Jesus. 

What happens next is captured as Luke writes, “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen...” Every day I hope to find my heart burning in the Presence of God and pray that I am willing to tell others the Lord is risen. To find passion in the Holy Spirit fuels our telling the story of Jesus and defines Believers! On the cross, Jesus becomes “broken bread and poured out wine”, and His resurrection becomes our Grace. If Luke could interview you, what would your story about Jesus be?- dho

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