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Preach the Word



a. Traditionally the Third Gospel and Acts are credited to Luke, the physician and missionary companion of the apostle Paul (see the 'we' passages in Acts 16: 10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). He was an educated Gentile probably from Syrian Antioch (see Col.4:12-14). A second-generation Christian he relied on eyewitnesses for his Gospel material (Lk.1:1-4).

b. Luke-Acts is addressed to Theophilus, a man of upper class (cf., Felix and Festus, in 24:3; 26:25). But it could be addressed and applied to any 'friend of God'. But who is Jesus according to Luke?

Jesus the Saviour

a. "Unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (2:10), introduces the emphasis of the Gospel - Jesus the Saviour of the world. The story of Zacchaeus, and the text associated with it, supports this emphasis: "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (19:10).

b. The universality of the Gospel underlines the Saviour's saving love for the world (7:1-10; 24:46,47). Jesus is the friend of tax collectors and prostitutes (7:34). He shows a deep interest in people (not 'souls'). He touches the untouchables (5:13; 7:14).

c. Words used of illnesses are not technical, but Luke's medical interest helps us to appreciate the healing ministry of Jesus (e.g., the high fever of 4:38, cf., Mk.1:30; Mt.8:14).

The Servant of the Lord

a. When Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah he indicated his mission (4:17-19; Isa.61:1,2; 58:6). He came to preach good news to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, bring a message of deliverance, and give sight to the blind (cf., 7:22). In the upper room Jesus performed a slave's task when he washed his disciples' feet (13:3-15). He illustrated his teaching: "I am among you as the one who serves" (22:27).

b. A question here. Do Luke's chosen stories illustrate Lk.4:17-19?

Jesus the Christ

a. Luke is very interested in the place of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of Jesus, beginning with his baptism and anointing with the Spirit (3:21,22). (The titles 'Messiah' and 'Christ' = 'The Anointed'.

b. The Spirit enabled Jesus to fulfil his mission (4:14,18,19; 10:21; Acts 10:38). The Church needs the same Spirit in order to fulfil the Lord's missionary mandate (24:46-49; Acts 1:8).

Jesus is Lord

The unique account of the call of Peter in Lk.5 shows how his awareness went from 'Master' to 'Lord' (vv.5,8). His Pentecostal sermon applied the highest sense of the title to Jesus (Gk. ho kurios = Jehovah). See Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32; Rom.10:13.

Concluding thoughts

a. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to continue the mission of the Lord Jesus (Lk.24:49; Acts 1:8).

b. The New Testament Church preached Christ (e.g., Acts 3:16; 8:5,35; 9:20).
We must preach Christ as Saviour and Lord.

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Copyright 2007 Vernon Ralphs

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