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Sermon24-19 Luke1 Guide

Luke 1:1-4, theme verse Lk 2:30-32

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the second Sunday of the Easter season, I pray that His vitality and joy and power of the resurrection may be with you all. As we look at the characteristics of each gospel of Mark and Matthew, this week we would like to also see what the Gospel means to the Gentiles since author and the recipient are both Gentiles and learn few lessons together.

1)    In summary again for the Gospel of Mark and Matthew among three synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of Mark, written first, was written around AD 68-70 and after Emperor Nero spread the rumor that the Great Fire of Rome was caused by Christians, so that when the Christians were unfairly persecuted without knowing why, and had to suffer even martyrdom, Mark, talking about the radicalness of the gospel and the sufferings because of it, tried to encourage them to have a victory in the end as even the twelve disciples did not understand it well at first, but over time after their faith grew to be the leaderships of the church, then finally could endure martyrdom through faith. And the second synoptic Gospel of Matthew was written to provide theological answers to the change in religious environment after the temple was destroyed in 70 AD due to the defeat in the First Jewish-Roman War and the Jewish Christian community became independent from the Jewish community. In his Gospel, Matthew introduced Jesus as Emmanuel, who is greater than the temple, as the One who Himself represents God's presence on behalf of the temple, proclaims forgiveness, and reveals God's will through the correct interpretation of the law, since Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. Therefore, the church who confesses Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah to be the true Israel has to go and make disciples of all nations as His great commission.

2)    On the other hand, in the Gospel of Luke, which we will examine together today, as the latest synoptic gospel, written around AD 80-90, Luke who himself was a Gentile, tried to present his theological answer to the question of what the gospel is for Gentiles. So, as it is said in today’s text, Chapter 1, verses 1 to 4, which is the prologue to the Gospel of Luke, like other ministers of the word who had written “an account of what Jesus had fulfilled” as they were heard the apostles who had witnessed and handed down to them,” Luke himself also, “regarding all these things from the beginning,” after investigating everything carefully and accurately, he said that he wrote down so that the Gospel of Luke records in detail not only the conception and birth of Jesus and the story of the birth of John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way for Jesus, but also the purification ceremony for baby Jesus, and stories about Jesus as a child. And Luke also says that he wrote and orderly account for Theophilus, a Gentile, a high-ranking member of the Roman Empire. Here the word “orderly” refers to the composition of a story in a logical order, with contextual connections and organizational relationships, as the Greek history literature used to do it at that time, rather than chronological order. And finally the purpose of his writing was to make Theophilus confirm further on what he knew.

3)    Therefore watching few things on what the Gospel of Luke tried to say about what the Gospel means to the gentiles together, first, while the two existing gospels are about the gospel from a Jewish perspective, the Gospel of Luke is a story about the gospel from a Gentile perspective, as both the author and recipient were the Gentiles. In other words, Luke introduces the Gospel as good news for all people, transcending race and lineage, that is, Jews or Gentiles, as well as transcending social classes and status, that is, Roman leaders or the lower class, or men or women, young or old, or rich or poor, as first, Luke’s bottom-up genealogy of Jesus says that Jesus was the descendant of Adam, the ancestor of human beings and even the descendant of God, while Matthew introduces Jesus as a descendant of Abraham, the ancestor of the Jews. Also, as the Song of Simeon in Chapter 2, Verse 32 refers to the baby Jesus as “a light to shine on the nations, prepared for all people” and as at the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus not only mentioned the salvation of the Gentile widow of Zarephath of Sidon and Naaman of Syria in the Old Testament. And even in Chapter 13, as Jesus said that many people from the east, west, south, and north will come and attend the kingdom banquet of God, making it clear that the gospel is for all people of all nations.

4)    Therefore, the Gospel of Luke also contains many unique illustrations related to this fact. What this means is that while 42% of the Gospel of Luke uses 79% of the content from the Gospel of Mark, and 23% shares content with the Gospel of Matthew, yet 35% has illustrations unique to the Gospel of Luke. In particular, the parable of Samaritan in chapter 10, in which a Samaritan saved a man who was about to die after being robbed, while the Jewish religious people just passed him by, gives us the lesson that our neighbors whom we have to love are those who need help from us, I mean, all the people of the world who were robbed and now is in the desperate situation. Also, the story of the prodigal son in chapter 15, in which the second son who received his share of his father's property, squandered it, and returned, was accepted again by his father, yet the first son was angry to his father, teaches us that the gentiles who were lost also can be accepted again by God our Father, even though  the first son, the Israelites did not understand and accept it. And also, the story in Chapter 17, in which only a Samaritan among ten lepers who were healed, returned and gave thanks to Jesus tells us that the gentiles do the right thing in the kingdom of God. As such, Luke says that Jesus came to this world not as the Savior only for a specific people like the Jews, rather came as the Savior of all people of all nations.

5)    By the way, Luke introduces Jesus, who came to this earth to spread the gospel for all people, as a perfect man also. In one hand, because Luke tried to defend the perfection of Jesus’ humanity against the heresy that did not believe the perfect humanity of Jesus within the church at that time, yet on the one hand, in response to the philosophical expectations of a perfect human being, complete with intelligence and virtue, common to the Greek world in the late 1st century AD, Luke wanted to introduce Jesus as the One who fully realized the Greeks' ideal of a perfect human being. So in the Gospel of Luke, while Luke depicted human beings as ignorant, distrustful, and incompetent beings due to sin and total depravity and corruption, so that they are unable to bear good fruits, while taking the burden of sin and the curse of life, yet Luke introduced Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah and He was righteous man as the centurion confesses in 23:47, and was full of the Holy Spirit, having the wisdom of God superior to Solomon in 7:35 and 11:31, and having God’s healing power in 4:14, and also being full of the majesty of God in 9:43. And also Jesus is said to be a greater Prophet than Jonah in 11:32, also as a savior and healer in 4:23 and 5:24.

6)    By the way, Luke, who wrote the Gospel for the Gentiles, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:18, not only was a man praised by all the churches for his devotion to the gospel, and as today's text says in Luke 1:2, but also was one of those who were the ministers of the word. In particular, we can know that he was very fluent in both Greek and Hebrew through the fact that the preface of the Gospel of Luke was written in the highest level of classical Greek among the New Testament, and also the cadences of the five songs about the birth of Jesus in the Chapter 1 & 2 was written also in the highest level of Hebrew literature. Also, as Paul said in Colossians 4:14, Luke was a “beloved physician,” who probably received a medical training in the Kos island, the hometown of Hippocrates who is the father of medicine which is very close to Troas where Luke met Paul. Anyhow, since Luke was a Physician, we can see his unique accent as a physician in his Gospel.

7)    Among them, in Luke 2:11 “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” the Greek word translated ”Savior” is “soter.” This word, in the Greek world, refers to divine saviors, that is, gods who save human beings from danger or illness, or protect or preserve a city. Or it can also mean human helper, rescuer of life, physician, philosopher or even ruler. So, when Luke, a Physician, used the Greek word ”soter”, we can think that he had in mind not only the meaning of “savior”, but also the meaning of “healer,” as in the Gospel of Luke, actual professional names for diseases were used and also salvation and healing are used alternatively when Jesus healed the sick peoples.

8)    And also in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” the Greek “sozo,” translated as “to save,” not only means to save, but also to rescue or to heal, as the “soter” means and also the Greek “to apololos” translated as “the lost” is written in singular form so that it can mean “that which was lost” as is in the KJV, instead of “those who were lost” as is in ESV. Therefore, Lk 19:10 can mean that the Son of Man came to seek and heal the lost nature of humanity and save the humanity into original holy and righteous humanity as the image of God which was lost in Eden after the first sin of Adam. That’s why Luke traced the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam who lost the original humanity, and also that’s why even Paul said in Eph 2:15 that Christ created a new humanity within Him.

9)    Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, although Luke says that he wrote down Jesus’ journey “in orderly manner,” yet there are some stories where he records things a little bit differently from the other gospels. For example, while in the Gospel of Matthew, after being resurrected, Jesus met His disciples in Galilee to give them the Great Commission. Yet in the Gospel of Luke, the angels who announced the resurrection of the Lord only told them to remember how the Lord spoke in Galilee, and then skipped the events in Galilee, and then it is said that the Lord commanded the Great Commission in Jerusalem and ascended to heaven. The reason why Luke wrote his Gospel like this is because he had in his mind a big yet more logical story including Jesus’ journey in the Gospel of Luke and His disciples’ journey in the Acts. I mean, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus began his earthly kingdom ministry in Galilee and then moved to Jerusalem through Perea and Judea where He trained His disciples and then entered Jerusalem to fulfill His vicarious atonement ministry there and ascended to heaven. And then in the subsequent book of Acts, his disciples, who received the Lord's great commission, after being filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, began to witness Him from Jerusalem, via Judea and Samaria and finally to the ends of the earth, so that Luke tried to give a big picture of one whole journey from Galilee to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to the end of the earth which was accomplished by Jesus and his disciples. Secondly, we would like to check how we are, I mean, whether we know that we are regenerated into new humanity which is within Jesus Christ and also we experience new life and healing in Him while enjoying His full and rich salvation. Our Lord began His public ministry, and said quoting from Isaiah 61:1 in the synagogue of his hometown, Nazareth, that, “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.” Here, the poor does not only mean those who are poor economically, but also those who are suffering, by the sin and its consequences. So if there is anyone among us suffering from poverty, then, I hope he or she may come forward to the Gospel, because our Lord will definitely raise them up within His gospel. Also, the captives here refer to those who are held captive by the bonds of Satan. So if there are such peoples here, please come to the gospel, then our Lord will definitely give them freedom. And also the blind here refer to those who cannot see the revealed truth. So if there are such peoples here, please come to the gospel so then our Lord will buy eye salve for free and apply it so that they can see clearly. And lastly, the oppressed here refer to those who are oppressed by sin or guilt. So if there are such peoples here, please come to the gospel then our Lord will release all that burden and set them free. Our Lord said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.“ Therefore if you have heard the voice of the Lord’s invitation now, I pray that you may come before the Lord and experience His healing and salvation.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In today’s text, Luke says that His Gospel is the salvation from the sin and the healing from total depravity. So while reviewing your life, after checking if there are some areas to be saved or healed, I hope you could share your thoughts with your team members to share His grace together.

Q2 And also, as we saw that Luke as a physician wrote his Gospel with some accents as a physician. As such, God always works using the merits or experiences of His ministers so that after reviewing yourself whether you have your own merits or experiences and how God uses them in His kingdom, I hope you could share your thoughts and experiences with your team members to share His grace together.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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