Thursday, October 03, 2013

Themes of Luke

Our church has started a new Bible Study, and our first curriculum is an examination of the Gospel of Luke.  I taught for the first two Sundays.

The material stresses three themes in Luke:
  • Luke writes to illuminate the idea of God’s redemptive plan for the salvation of all of humanity.  
  • Luke, more than any other Gospel writer, is interested in stressing Jesus’ concern to extend God’s mercy and grace to women as well as to men.
  • Luke is interested in focusing on the poor and the outcast.  
Two Sunday's ago the lesson was focused around Luke 20:1-20.  I asked the class to keep the three theme above in mind as they read, so I did the same as I read the passage to prepare to teach.  It is interesting to me that I can find all three.

The story begins with a sentence concerning a census that had been ordered by Caesar.  It was a symbol of Caesar's power over Palestine, and was done as a tool for taxation.  Contrast that with Joseph and Mary, and a baby born in a stable.  Shepherds, low in society's rankings, come to the birth.  Luke's emphasis on the poor and outcast is clearly seen in the nativity story.

In addition, (and according to the notes in my Bible) "A multitude of angels appear on a farm, making this (and not the Jerusalem Temple) the meeting lace of human and divine and providing a heavenly perspective on these events.  Good news is for all people..."

And then I love how the passage ends, with Mary pondering all of these things in her heart.  Why bother to tell us that?  Who cares about what a woman is "pondering?"  Jesus does, and so Luke includes the sentence.

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