Want to get your teeth into the Gospel of Luke? If you have a couple of hours spare, grab a cup of coffee, take a seat and read the gospel in one sitting. Afterwards, work your way through these three teachings (downloadable below) to kickstart your own study of Luke. It's well worth your time and thoughts.
Maybe you've heard about how the four gospels are different to each other. Matthew's is drenched in Jewishness, persuading how Jesus is the predicted Messiah of the Old Testament. Mark's presents Jesus as the suffering servant King whom you need to follow with endurance. John defends that Jesus is the only way to God and to eternal life. And Luke, well let me tell you. Luke introduces Jesus as the Saviour of all. But don't get distracted by these four different motivations for recording the life of Jesus - the four gospels actually all tell the same story. They all tell the story of what it looks like when the God of Israel becomes King of His people, like He said He would.
A major theme of the Gospel of Luke (and in fact all Jesus' teachings) is the kingdom of God. As someone who grew up in a Christian family, that term is drenched in familiarity and is quite dulled. It wasn't until preparing this teaching that I began to grapple with what on earth the 'kingdom of God' actually is. The Book of Samuel massively unlocked it for me. 'Kingdom' wasn't this religious term birthed by God, it was a concept familiar with the pagan peoples describing a group which collectively agreed to recognise someone as their king. God's plan for Israel was to be their recognised King and that was called the kingdom of God. Way back in Exodus He said to Israel, "I want you to be a priestly kingdom and a holy nation." But, if you know the story of the Old Testament, you'll know that Israel chose to drive in manual mode and dethrone God as their King, demanding a human dynasty instead. Introducing: Saul, David, Solomon (etc.). Despite this, God continued to speak about how one day He would be the enduring King over His people once again, and this time He wouldn't be dethroned. The prophetic books are peppered with building anticipation of this coming King, and then comes Jesus, the fulfilment of these promises. Much of Jesus' teachings are about clarifying to God's people about the true nature of the kingdom of God, and what it means to belong to it. I find myself caught up in that story too. As a Christian, I live as a citizen in a kingdom with a recognised King - Jesus.
So enjoy the Gospel of Luke. He does a thorough job of explaining how the invitation into the kingdom of God is radical and is open to all peoples (much to the dismay of the religious elite). What blows my mind is that yes Jesus is the long awaited King of God's long awaited kingdom, but He was also the Servant who came to hand out invitations and usher all sorts of people into God's kingdom. Now that's pretty cool.
Introduction to Luke, historical background and birth narratives.
Introduction to parables and Jewish women of Jesus' time.
Social outcasts in Luke, kingdom of God and passion narratives.