Summary of Luke
The Gospel of the Savior of All People
Gospels, Acts & Revelation
Professor Brandon Evans
March 2, 2017
Luke is the longest of the Gospels, starting earlier (with the announcement of John’s birth) and ending later (with Jesus’ ascension) (Strauss 2007, 261). Luke shows that Jesus is the Savior of the world, not just of the Jews. Through Jesus’ birth, life & ministry, death, and resurrection, Luke continually Jesus’ heart for all people (including the unclean, sinners, women, and Gentiles).
Luke begins his coverage on the birth of Jesus with the parents of John the Baptist, showing their allegiance and devotion to the God of the Old Testament in Luke 1: “5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord,” and continues to do the same with parents of Jesus. Luke mentions that they are of the house of David, and confirms their devotion when Mary responds to the angel, Gabriel: “38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Additionally, Luke’s use of the genealogy doesn’t just connect Jesus to the line of David, giving Him the right to rule as King, but all the way back to Adam. Thus, Luke connects the birth of the Savior as the prophecied salvation of the Jewish people, and also as the salvation for all mankind, through Adam.
Jesus begins His ministry in Nazareth, reading from Isaiah 61 in the temple, and then angers the townspeople by showing God’s favor, through Isaiah, for only two Gentiles. In chapter 7, Luke narrates an interaction between Jesus and a professional Roman officer. Jesus proclaims to all in hearing that this Gentile had faith unlike anyone in Israel and proceeds to heal the man’s servant. Also in Luke 7, Jesus forgives the sins of not just a sinful person, but a sinful woman. He receives more derision from Jewish religious leaders.
In Luke 5:27-30, Jesus calls a tax collector, Levi (Matthew), to follow Him as His disciple. He then goes to Levi’s house to recline with him as Levi has prepared a feast for Jesus. The religious leaders are in disagreement: “27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?””
In chapter 8, Jesus shows His heart for women, allowing many to follow Him, which was unheard of for a rabbi in His day: “8 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. “ Later in chapter 8, Jesus not only heals another woman, but an unclean woman, one that no Jew would have dared go near. Jesus does not just heal the woman, but in the presence of all, He makes clear that it is her faith that brought her healing.
Luke continues to illuminate Jesus’ heart for Gentiles in Luke 9, where He rebukes his disciples for the cavalier disdain for a Samaritan village that rejects Him, and then in chapter 10 when He condemns Jewish cities for their rejection. It is easy to see that the Jews knew better, as they had the Scriptures teaching them about God’s heart, and of the coming Messiah for all the world, and the Samaritans did not have this knowledge. He further expresses His heart for the Gentile later in Chapter 10 with the sermon of the good Samaritan. Once again, Jesus shows the surprising value in a Gentile and the wicked hearts of the Jews, even the religious leaders who refuse to help a broken and battered man.
Luke’s account of the death of Jesus is short, but he makes it a point to show two things. He shows Jesus’ heart for the sinner in Luke 23 and the simple profession of faith that is required for redemption: “39 One of the criminals who was hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Afterward, Jesus’s true identity is voiced publicly by none other than yet another Roman soldier and officer. His profession of faith even strikes the surrounding Jews to their hearts: “ 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. “
After returning to life in the last chapter, Jesus finds His disciples huddled in an upper room in Jerusalem, and Luke makes it a point to quote Jesus’ words to them. Jesus expresses that yes, He is the prophecied Messiah, here to bring salvation to God’s people, but also to all mankind: “45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48”
Jesus is shown in the Gospel of Luke befriending sinners, healing not just the sick, but the unclean, and bringing salvation to the whole world. Roman soldiers and Samaritans profess their faith and receive healing. Jesus also condemns the Jews for their unbelief in spite of their knowledge of the Scriptures and shows His favor for the foreigners. In chapter 24, this culminates in Jesus clearly stating in the presence of the apostles that salvation is for everyone, and that it is their duty to make it known.
Strauss, Mark. 2007. Four Portraits One Jesus. Hong Kong: Zondervan.