The Gospel of Luke is written to Theophilus (1:3). Theophilus is described as “most excellent”, a term that is also used to describe the governors Felix and Festus (Acts 24:3, 26:25), so perhaps he was a Roman officer or the like. We know nothing about him, but he might have been Luke’s sponsor who would be responsible for that the Gospel would be copied and distributed, while also being interested in the reliability of the gospel (“so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” 1:4). It was common to include a dedication to the publisher. He was probably a Gentile Christian, and Luke also has other Gentile Christians in mind when he writes. This makes the Gospel of Luke the most “Greek” gospel. He omits typical Jewish material and uses “teacher” instead of “rabbi” and “sinners” instead of “Gentiles” to make it more understandable outside Jewish areas. Luke is also known for his details, many of which have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries and have given Luke credibility as a historical source.
Luke focuses on the fact that God’s kingdom is for everyone – both pagans, women, and the outcasts of society – and that Jesus came to look for the lost ones and save them. Examples of this are the parables of the lost sheep and the silver coin in chapter 15 and Zacchaeus in chapter 19.
The Gospel of Luke has a geographical structure that points toward Jerusalem. We can call the first two chapters, which concern events in and around Galilee, a prologue. In 9:51 we read that Jesus “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem”, and from that verse, he is on his way to Jerusalem. He gets there in 19:28, and the rest of the Gospel is about the last week there. In “Volume 2” (Acts of the Apostles) the story continues with a structure from Jerusalem and beyond to the end of the world.
Luke opens by saying in 1:1 that he is writing about “the things that have been fulfilled among us”, and in 24:44 Jesus says that “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”. The Gospel of Luke thus describes how Jesus has fulfilled the entire OT. And in 24:49 Jesus says that the disciples will wait in Jerusalem until they have been clothed with power from on high. What they are waiting for then comes in the Acts of the Apostles.
There are good reasons to agree with the ancient church that the author was the physician Luke (Col. 4:14), a co-worker of Paul. The dating is uncertain, but it was probably written between 60 and 80 AD. Luke is the only non-Jewish author of the NT. He is well educated, as seen from his advanced language and style. He knows the Old Testament well. Luke is the only gospel that tells about Jesus’ ascension.
“Luke is a first-rate historian; not only are his statements of fact credible […] this author should be placed with the very greatest historians. Luke’s history is in a class of its own in terms of its credibility.” Sir William Ramsey (the quote has been translated)
Distinctive for the Gospel of Luke:
- Geographically points toward Jerusalem
- The longest and perhaps the most chronological Gospel
- Continues in the Acts of the Apostles
- The Gospel that is closest to the genre “Greco-Roman historical work”
“The historical confirmation of the Acts of the Apostles is overwhelming […] Any attempt to reject the fundamental historicity of the book must now seem absurd. Historians with the Roman Empire as their field have long taken it for granted.” A. N. Sherwin-White (the quote has been translated)
Verse 1 tells that “many” have undertaken to draw up an account of the Gospel before Luke, which must mean more than only Mark and Matthew. Luke opens by saying in 1:1 that he writes about “the things that have been fulfilled among us”, and in 24:44 Jesus says that “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”. The Gospel of Luke thus describes how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament.
- “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21 NIV
- “They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” Luke 9:31 NIV
- “I will not eat of it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Luke 22:16 NIV
Luke’s sources were “eyewitnesses and servants of the word” (v. 2), maybe including Mark and Matthew. He includes many details, as he has “carefully investigated everything” (v. 3).
QUESTIONS THEOPHILUS (AND OTHER READERS) MAY HAVE HAD:
- How can I know that I, as a heathen, am part of God’s people? Do I really belong here? How does belief in Jesus relate to Judaism?
- How can I know that this is the truth when there are so many other religions?
- What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
- The kingdom of God is for everyone (Gentiles, outcasts, women)
- The Holy Spirit
- God’s plan (fulfillment, “today”, “must”)
- The dangers of wealth
|Intro||Ch. 1-2||John and Jesus are born. Bridge from the OT.|
|Part 1: In Galilee||3:1-9:50||Heals, calls disciples, forgives sin, the “Sermon on the Plain”, a few parables.|
|Part 2: On the way to Jerusalem||9:51-19:27||Traveling. Teaching and many parables, few miracles, much unique to Luke.|
|Part 3: In Jerusalem||19:28-24:53||The last week.|
The Holy Spirit is “active again” (mentioned 9x in chapters 1-3): in John, in the conception of Jesus, in the prophetic songs…
“a descendant of David” (1:27) … “you are to call him Jesus” (1:31) = “Yahweh saves” … Son of God, King (1:32-33).
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:32-33
Jesus fulfills God’s plan:
“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:17
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:32-35
“He[God] has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:54-55
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham:” Luke 1:68-73
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11
“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:30-32
Mary’s song (1:46-55)
Similarities with Hannah’s song:
“Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord ; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. “There is no one holy like the Lord ; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the Lord ’s; on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” 1 Samuel 2:1-10
“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55
The kingdom of God for the outcast / poor:
- “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.” (v. 52)
- “He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.” Proverbs 3:34
- “The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled),” Isaiah 2:11-12
- “The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,” Isaiah 2:17
- He fed the hungry but sent them away rich away (v. 53) → the dangers of wealth
God’s Plan (vv. 54-55): The Fulfillment of the promises to Israel and the promise to Abraham, a descendant of David.
The Song of Zechariah (1:68-79)
God’s Plan (Salvation, House of David, Promises, Covenant …)
The Birth of Jesus (2:1-20)
- For all: “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (v. 10)
- The poor:
- Jesus was born in poverty, among the poor and lowly shepherds (v. 12, also in v. 24).
- Jesus identified with the lowly ones, and the gospel was first preached to them.
Simon’s Song (2:29-32) – inspired by several verses from Isaiah
- God’s plan: “seen your salvation” = seen Jesus, which means “Yahweh is salvation”
- “and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 52:10b
- “He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” Psalm 98:3
- For all: a light that brings revelation to the Gentiles:
- “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2
- “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6
- “he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
- “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations.” Isaiah 51:4
- “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:1-3
Jesus in the Temple (2:41-52): “I had to be in my Father’s house” – God’s Plan
PART 1: IN GALILEE 3:1 – 9:50
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS (3:21-22) – A “CROWNING CEREMONY”
He is anointed as a prophet and the Spirit comes upon him (1 Sam 16:13)
“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” 1 Sam 16:13
Like the kings of Israel exclaimed “God’s son” (Psalm 2:6-7) – but surpasses this
“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.” Psalm 2:6-7
Also the servant of the Lord (Isa 42:1)
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.” Isa 42:1
THE GENEALOGY (3:23-38)
“…, the son of David, …, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
Jesus’ genealogy shows that he is the Messianic King (in the line of David) who brings God’s blessing (promised to Abraham) to all people (originating from Adam). It also shows that he is the Son of God.
JESUS IS TEMPTED IN THE DESERT (4:1-13)
Jesus had his identity confirmed in baptism: Son of God, loved and well-pleasing to God. The temptations are attacks on this:
- “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Jesus’ answer: Deut 8:3)
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut 8:3
- “If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Jesus’ answer: Deuteronomy 6:13)
“Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.” Deut 6:13
- “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. ” (Psalm 91:11-12) (Jesus’ answer: Deuteronomy 6:16)
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalms 91:11-12
“Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.” Deut 6:16
All the scriptures that Jesus quotes are from the time when the Israelites were tested in the desert.
Jesus = The new Adam, who stands where Adam fell (→ the genealogy)
Israel was in the desert for 40 years – Jesus for 40 days. Jesus personifies and meets the requirements of the law on behalf of Israel.
All temptation is an attempt to separate us from God. Most often the devil will try to attack our identity and our sense of worth. Jesus went out into the wilderness sure of his identity. We also need to know this. We need to have our identity and security in God alone.
JESUS’ SPEECH IN THE SYNAGOGUE OF NAZARETH (4:16-22)
God’s plan: Not separation from Judaism → faith in Jesus is true Judaism
The Holy Ghost (3:22, 4:1, 14, 18) → should be upon Messiah (Isa. 11:2, 42:1, 61:1)
“and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.” 3:22a
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” 4:1
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” 4:14
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord“ Isaiah 11:2
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.” Isaiah 42:1
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3a
a) preach a good message (“the gospel”) to the poor
b) proclaim that prisoners shall be released/release the oppressed
this is an expression about the Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:10).
“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.” Leviticus 25:10
“Freedom” can also mean “forgiveness”. Isaiah used this about freedom from Babylon, but Jesus came with freedom from sin.
4:31-44 → primarily spiritual oppression; driving out demons (impure spirits).
5:31-32 → primarily spiritual healing
“Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'” 5:31-32
c) proclaim that the blind will regain their sight → symbolizes light in the darkness (1:78-79, 2:32)
“because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
“a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:32
d) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor: not the time for “the day of vengeance of our God” Isaiah 61:2
Jesus sees no reason to perform miracles in Nazareth (4:23-27) because of their unbelief
“And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Matthew 13:58
4:25-27 → The Books of Kings: A low point in Israel’s history where the people rejected God and worshiped other gods. Therefore, God instead performed miracles outside of Israel. A warning against rejecting Jesus.
Jesus’ focus is on proclaiming the gospel. The miracles can not be separated from that:
“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent. And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” 4:42-43
Jesus himself says that miracles are not the most important thing (Luke 10:20, Matt 12:39, Mark 8:12, John 6:26-27). Sometimes he does not want it to be told further (Luke 8:56), because the meaning of the miracles will disappear if you focus only on the events themselves.
“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
“He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matt 12:39
“He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Mark 8:12
“Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:26-27
“Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” Luke 8:56
“The experiences of what Jesus gives can overshadow who the miracles point to.” Darrell Bock
MIRACLES: JESUS’ ANSWER TO JOHN (7:22)
Jesus uses OT texts that deal with the “time of salvation”:
- Isa 26:19 – the dead will come to life
- Isaiah 29:18-19: the deaf will hear, the blind will see, the helpless will rejoice, the poor will rejoice
- Isaiah 35:5-6: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, the mute tongue shout for joy
Isaiah 29 and 35 are about the return from exile in Babylon…
Isa 6:9-10 → the people are spiritually blind and deaf, spiritually sick
“He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Isa 6:9-10
No clear signs that Israel expected such concrete, physical miracles in the time of salvation, or that the Messiah would perform miracles. Jesus is the first to interpret it this way. The miracles are signs that point to the spiritual truth behind (cf. John’s Gospel).
THROUGH JESUS’ PREACHING THE MIRACLES BECOME MORE THAN MIRACLES:
the blind see → people believe
lepers are cleansed → the people can be cleansed and have a relationship with God again
deaf hear → Israel listens again to God’s word
dead rise → The total renewal of God’s people / eternal life
miracles in nature → God’s kingdom breaks through and wins over the forces of chaos
Exorcisms are not mentioned in Jesus’ answer because they are not mentioned as signs of the time of salvation in the OT.
6:20-22: THE BEATITUDES (“SURPRISING CONGRATULATIONS”)
Blessed = Happy in the deepest sense
Important: Said to disciples, not general statements. Because of their situation, they will understand God’s kingdom and want to enter it. Therefore they are blessed.
4 Beatitudes and 4 corresponding laments.
The situation shall be turned upside down (as in 1:52-53 and 16:25).
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” Luke 1:52-53
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” 16:25
1: “BLESSED ARE YOU THE POOR, THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS YOURS” (6:20)
What kind of poor? Matthew has “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3)
- The poor vs. those with prideful thoughts
- The low vs. the rulers
- The hungry vs. the rich
OT: “Poor” is never a contrast to “rich”, but is used about “the helpless”.
“Poor” = “a spiritual beggar”, one who has nothing to offer God, but stands empty-handed before him.
A connection with economic poverty, but not the whole answer.
7:22 → the poor do not receive financial help but the gospel is preached:
“…and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” 7:22
Economic poverty forces us to seek God. Hence a danger of being rich.
Zacchaeus was not poor financially, but he was lost and needed to hear the gospel (19:10)
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
Western wealth is a problem. We are fine and do not need God. (6:24)
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” 6:24
2 AND 3: BLESSED ARE YOU WHO HUNGER AND WEEP NOW (6:21)
Now vs. future (God’s salvation). God will intervene and turn the situation around.
Contrast with the cries in v. 25. A complete change.
- “Satisfied” = not spiritually hungry. One day they will feel that they are not satisfied anymore.
- “Laugh” = happy with life as it is. But there will come a time when it won’t be as good.
- Same point in 1:52-53. God has acted this way in the past, and the same is expected in the future.
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” Luke 1:52-53
Those who do not have a good life now are more open to God, and he will turn things upside down in the end. Hardships in life can benefit us spiritually.
4. BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN PEOPLE HATE YOU (6:22-23)
Corresponds with the 4th lamentation (v. 26)
Directed to the disciples. Those he speaks to have a relationship with Jesus. The disciples may be called poor, hungry, etc.
What Jesus experienced, and what God’s prophets in the OT experienced, his disciples will also experience. (“Everyone will hate you because of me.” 21:17)
“The blessed” do not face an easy life here on earth, but these words would encourage them. We are in good company when we face hardships, and Jesus asks us to leap for joy (6:23) (cf. Acts 5:41, 1 Pet 4:12-16).
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” 6:23
“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5:41
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16
END OF THE SPEECH: HOUSES WITH AND WITHOUT FOUNDATION WALLS (6:46-49)
Concludes by making the listeners think about what he has said and put it into practice.
Calling him “Lord” implies obedience.
- to build with foundations: come to me – hear my words – do what they say
- to build without a foundation: come to me – hear my words – do not do it
The warning is to hear Jesus’ words but not apply them. Build your life on what will stand through the storms of life.
“dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock…” 6:48
- This means you have to work for it, but it’s worth it. Easier to build directly on the ground, but it doesn’t last long.
- Bible studies: Work that will build the foundation of your house.
THE DISCIPLES GET TO SEE JESUS’ GLORY (9:28-36)
“bright as a flash of lightning” → “white as snow” (God in Dan 7:9)
shelters? The same words as the tent sanctuary in Exodus where God met the people.
v. 35: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Repetition of 3:22
Jesus is the Prophet that Moses spoke about in Deuteronomy 18:15
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” Deuteronomy 18:15
Moses at Sinai (Exodus 33): God passes by Moses and shows his glory but not his face.
Elijah at Horeb (Sinai)(1 Kings 19:8-12): God passes by Elijah, but Elijah covered his face.
They finally get to see God’s face when they see Jesus. Jesus is the glory of God who will suffer and die for his own people (“exodus” → the fulfillment of the exodus from Egypt)
Elia → Malachi 3 and 4 have happened (God purifies and refine his people). The Messiah has come.
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:1
“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.” Malachi 4:5-6a
Points forward to the resurrection to encourage the disciples to follow him to the cross.
PART 2: THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM 9:51 – 19:27
“STORY-PARABLES” IN CHAPTERS 9-19
10:25-37 The Good Samaritan “Who is my neighbor” → “Who showed himself
as a neighbor?”
12:16-21 The rich farmer The dangers of wealth
13:6-9 The fig tree that did not bear fruit Repentance before judgment comes
14:15-24 The great banquet The Jews rejected Jesus; outcasts are brought in
Chapter 15 The sheep, the silver coin and the sons Why Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners
16:1-13 The Parable of the Shrewd Manager Serve God with money
16:19-31 The rich man and Lazarus The dangers of wealth and the gospel for the poor
18:1-8 The widow and the judge Always pray and do not lose heart
18:9-14 The Pharisee and the tax collector How does one become righteous before God?
19:11-27 The Parable of the Ten Minas How shall we live until Jesus comes again?
Parable: “a made-up story, but still in accordance with daily life, which figuratively describes especially the nature of the kingdom of God”
THE FIG TREE THAT BEARED NO FRUIT (13:6-9)
1. To whom is the parable told? “Some” Jews (v. 1)
2. What is the context? Repentance (vv. 1-5)
3. What metaphors are used?
The man/lord = God
Vineyard = Israel/God’s people (Jes 5:1-7, Jer 12:10)
Fig tree = Israel/the temple (the parable replaces the curse of the fig tree in Matt/Mark, which stands for the temple/Israel that did not bear fruit)
Cut down = judgment (same word in 3:9)
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 3:9
4. What is important historical background?
Fertilizer was unusual, a sign of extra effort.
5. What is the point?
Israel has not borne the fruit God expected. They must repent to avoid judgment. There is still time because God is gracious, but they do not know how long they have (vv. 1-5, 9). The last days have begun with Jesus. Judgment is coming soon.
6. What does the parable mean for us?
You don’t know when you will die, or when Jesus will come again. Do not plan to become a Christian when you are about to die.
A judgment came in the year 70 when the temple was destroyed (Luke 21:22-23), but we have been grafted into God’s tree by faith (Romans 11). Jesus bears the fruit God expects for us (John 15:1-8).
THE PARABLE OF THE GREAT BANQUET (14:16-24)
1. To whom is the parable told? One of the guests, while others listened (vv. 15-16, 24)
2. What is the context? A dinner party with a Pharisee (vv. 1-14)
3. What is the important historical background? They had been invited in advance and had already said yes. Big insult to make poor excuses when the actual day came.
4. What metaphors are used?
The man/lord = God
Feast = Messiah’s feast in the new age
Those who were invited = Israel who had heard God’s words through the prophets and entered into a covenant with God
The servant = Jesus? The apostles?
The people = The outcasts who were not usually invited to a celebration (v. 13)
5. What is the point?
The Jews had the scriptures and their history inviting them into the kingdom of God, but they rejected it when Jesus and the disciples came with the final call. Instead, unexpected groups of people accepted the gospel.
Jesus switches to “you” in v. 24 and speaks to the guests. It is his feast that the parable is about. The Pharisee and his guests must not reject Jesus.
6. What does the parable mean for us?
“There is still room.” There is always room for more. That is why Jesus is delaying his return (2 Pet 3:9). Unexpected people may respond to the gospel. We have to “compel them to come in”.
THE PARABLE OF THE SHREWD MANAGER (16:1-13)
1. Jesus’ disciples have something to learn about long-term thinking and how to transfer this to God’s kingdom. (v. 8b)
Example 1: Be generous and invest in God’s kingdom (v. 9)
Example 2: Good handling of money is a sign that we can manage things in God’s kingdom. (vv. 10-11)
Example 3: It is important how we manage everything we borrow in our earthly life. (v. 12)
2. We must not become so “financially sensible” that we trust more in money than in God.
The climax in the travelogue?
Chief tax collector + wealthy
“I must stay at your house today.” 19:5b
“Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.”
v. 10 is a key verse for the entire Gospel of Luke: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Zacchaeus becomes the example of whom Jesus came to save. A sinner who repents and comes to faith.
PART 3: IN JERUSALEM 19:28 – 24:53
THE PARABLE OF THE TENANTS (20:9-19)
1. What is the context?
Question of authority, in the temple square (vv. 1-8)
2. To whom is the parable told?
The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders (vv. 1, 19)
3. What is the important historical background?
4. What metaphors are used?
The owner of the vineyard (Israel) = God
The winegrowers = The Jewish leaders
The servants = OT prophets
The Son= Jesus (3:22)
Others = The apostles and their associates? Later: Gentile Christian leaders?
5. What is the point?
The context is authority, but Israel’s leaders have never respected God’s leadership. None of the prophets were respected, and neither was Jesus. Jesus does not bother to say where he gets his authority from, because he knows that they not going to respect this anyway.
The privilege of leading God’s people is taken from the priests, scribes and elders and given to the apostles and other faithful leaders. The 12 apostles represent the new Israel. The current leaders will lose their authority and be punished and rejected by God. And Jesus will die as a fulfillment of the Old Testament.
But: The kingdom of God will not be taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles; it is the leadership that will be replaced, but the people remain the same. God does not plant a new vineyard.
6. What does the parable mean for us?
Rejecting Jesus leads to judgment. We need to make sure people are aware of this.
JESUS FORECASTS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE (21:5-36)
➡ 19:41-44: Jerusalem will be destroyed because they rejected Jesus
➡ 19:45-46: “den of robbers” from Jer 7, where God says that the temple will be destroyed (586 BC)
Context (vv. 5-7): When the temple will be destroyed, and what the sign is that this will begin.
vv. 8-19: What the disciples will experience before the temple is destroyed.
vv. 20–24: Signs that destruction is near (Jewish war 66-70 AD). This was a judgment on Jerusalem (vv. 22-24), and Gentiles were to gain control.
vv. 25-28: Jesus returns after the destruction of the temple
vv. 29-33: The destruction of the temple will happen within a generation (about 40 years), and that means that the return can happen at any time after this.
vv. 34-36: The application is to be spiritually awake and ready for Jesus’ return every day, and to pray for strength to persevere.
“The members of the church in Jerusalem, by means of a word given by a revelation to trustworthy persons there, were ordered to leave the city before the war began and settle in a village in Perea called Pella. Those who believed in Christ emigrated to Pella from Jerusalem.”
The church historian Eusebius (early 4th century), Church history 3.5.
“An abnormal storm broke out in the night, with the greatest violence and very strong wind, with the greatest downpours, with constant lightning, terrible thunder, and astonishing shakings and rumblings as in an earthquake. These things were a clear sign that a destruction came upon men when the world order fell into such disorder; and anyone would guess that these wonders were a warning of great calamities to come.”
The historian Josephus, The Jewish War 4.4.5.
“Anyone who compares our Saviour’s words with the rest of the historian’s recording of the whole war cannot fail to be astonished, and to recognize as divine and exceedingly impressive the insight into the future which is revealed by our Saviour’s prediction.”
The church historian Eusebius (early 4th century), Church history 3.7.
THE EMMAUS WALKERS (24:13-35)
They did not recognize him as long as they had their own perceptions of who he was supposed to be, and tried to get him to fit into them. When he is allowed to reveal himself as he is, then they recognize him and realize that it’s him. When he breaks the bread it symbolizes that he died for everyone’s sins.
THE MISSION COMMAND (LUKE 24:44-49)
“This is what I told you …” → 9:22, 18:31-33, 22:37 (24:6-7, 25-27)
“And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” 9:22
“Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” 18:31-33
“It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Luke 22:37
“He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:6-7
“He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Luke 24:25-27
“everything had to + be fulfilled” (God’s plan)
The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day: Genesis 3:15, Psalm 16, 22, 31, 69, 110, 118, Isaiah 53, Hos 6:2, Jon 2:1…
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15
“because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.” Psalm 16:10
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” Psalm 22:1
“Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” Psalm 22:16-18
“They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” Psalm 22:31
“Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Psalm 69:20-21
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Jes 53:5
“For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.” Jes 53:8b
“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin” Jes 53:10a
“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Jes 53:12b
Also the entire history of Israel: Suffering and exile due to sin, return and “resurrection”
→ Luk 4: Jesus is the fulfillment of the entire history of Israel.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luk 4:18-19
“and in his name repentance and forgiveness of sins shall be preached to all nations”:
repentance, sin and the salvation of nations are themes throughout the OT (but esp. Gen 12:3)
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen 12:3
Jesus says it “is written”, but we do not see this without Jesus.
Mission is a consequence of Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament.
Mission is to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus to all nations.
WHAT DOES THE GOSPEL OF LUKE HAVE TO SAY FOR OUR LIVES?
1. God’s heart for the outcast, the weak, the poor, and the lowly is evident both in the OT and through Jesus. He sat down where others looked down. Do we look for those others overlook? Who are the outcasts and lowly in our society?
2. We heathens are not God’s second choice. God’s plan and his eternal purpose, the goal of the whole universe, is the gospel for all. So we know what God wants. How can we join this?
3. What are the dangers of wealth for the disciples of Jesus today?