Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Luke has always been my favourite gospel for two reasons:

A. It’s very thorough, beginning the story of Jesus’ life all the way back at the prophesy of John the Baptist’s birth.

B. It has a sequel.

Luke honestly appears to have sorted through all the information he had available, and assembled all the events he’d concluded reliable into one long document. I like that. That’s exactly what appeals to me about sorting the Bible into chronological order.

Today I re-read it straight through and found three things stood out:

1. Jesus’ resurrection reads like it’s been written by someone different to the account of his life. For example, he’s suddenly called “Lord Jesus.”

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

- Luke 24:1-3 (NIV)

Also Lord Jesus' conversation, often previously recounted in depth, is now noticeably stunted.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

- Luke 24:27 (NIV)

There are perfectly valid explanations for that – I write in several different styles on this blog, and chapter 24 is necessarily told from the disciples’ point of view – but it still jarred when I got to it.

2. There’s a really nice story about a miracle that he performs:

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

- Luke 7:11-15 (NIV)

3. But most of all, I’m pleased that Jesus throughout speaks of judgement with a real sense of forgiveness and level-headedness. In the following verses, it appears to me that the dead are still to be raised to life before fair judgement, somewhat robbing all the death in the Old Testament of its finality.

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."

- Luke 20:38 (NIV)

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

- Luke 13:4 (NIV)

All those people who God had killed in the Old Testament? It seems to me that God was simply removing them from the world, not damning them eternally. They still have judgement coming. And those who are found guilty, won’t necessarily be punished to the infinite extremes that Christianity today often imagines, when it preaches things like:

- If you stole a pencil when you were three, then you’ll burn in agony forever, because that’s fair.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.

- Luke 12:48 (NIV)

- No matter how much you seek God, your goodness will still be so tiny as to be irrelevant. There is no goodness in man.

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

- Luke 15:7 (NIV)

- On judgement day, you will either be rewarded beyond imagination, or punished beyond imagination. Despite the word ‘justice’ there is no in-between.

I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

- Luke 10:12 (NIV)

- Your eternal sentence has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Jesus spent three years saying, it’s purely determined by whether you think he’s real.

Jesus certainly spoke about the benefits of following him, but I suspect he’ll be true to everything he said, rather than to just one thing.


2 comment(s):

At 8:48 pm, Anonymous Rhett said...

Luke was always my least favourite Gospel.

Mark is action packed. John is all deep and spiritual. Matthew is just good and solid; a classic.

Luke is stiff and details-oriented.

I think Luke must have improved as a writer though, because I really loved Acts. Kind of like comparing The Empire Strikes Back to A New Hope, isn't it? Or Terminator 2 with Terminator?

At 9:53 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

This might shock you – I haven't seen any of those films!


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