Thoughts on Luke, Day 34, Lent 2013
In my edition of The Message, a Bible paraphrased by Eugene Peterson, he gives an introduction to each book. I don't normally read them, but today his introduction to Luke caught my eye. Luke, he notes, is the only non-Jewish writer of an entire book (two, including Acts) to the Bible. He's also the biggest contributor to the New Testament. Luke's concerns include the outcasts, the marginalized, and the lost causes. I read only the first couple chapters, then put on my headphones and listened to the rest of it while puttering around the yard and house. Only one more week to finish the entire Bible during Lent.
Peterson's introduction primed my eyes and ears to read and listen to those prayers, songs, and examples of God's concern for the weak. There is Mary's song.
Luke 1:51 God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds. The proud in mind and heart, God has sent away in disarray. 52 The rulers from their high positions of power, God has brought down low. And those who were humble and lowly, God has elevated with dignity. 53 The hungry—God has filled with fine food. The rich—God has dismissed with nothing in their hands.There's Zachariah's song, in reference to his own miracle child John, the future baptist.
Luke 1:67-79 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he came and set his people free. He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, Just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he’d do, What he swore to our father Abraham— a clean rescue from the enemy camp, So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live. And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,” will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways, Present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins. Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.In chapter 2, the announcement of Christ's birth to shepherds.
In chapter 4, Jesus reads his mission statement from Isaiah.
Luke 4:17 The synagogue attendant gave Him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and Jesus unrolled it to the place where Isaiah had written these words: 18 The Spirit of the Lord the Eternal One is on Me. Why? Because the Eternal designated Me to be His representative to the poor, to preach good news to them. He sent Me to tell those who are held captive that they can now be set free, and to tell the blind that they can now see. He sent Me to liberate those held down by oppression. 19 In short, the Spirit is upon Me to proclaim that now is the time; this is the jubilee season of the Eternal One’s grace.In chapter 5, Jesus recruits fishermen to be his students. He touches lepers and heals them. He eats with traitorous tax collectors and other shady characters, to the disgust of the religious elite.
Chapter 6 is Jesus' sermon on the plain, similar to Matthew's sermon on the mount, but with some modifications. His beatitudes are more earthly and coupled with some woes.
Luke 6:20 All you who are poor, you are blessed for the kingdom of God belongs to you. 21 All you who are hungry now, you are blessed for your hunger will be satisfied. All you who weep now, you are blessed for you shall laugh! 22 When people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and write you off as evil on account of the Son of Man, you are blessed. 23 When these things happen, rejoice! Jump for joy! Then you have a great reward in heaven For at that moment, you are experiencing what the ancient prophets did when they were similarly treated by the ancestors of your detractors. 24 All you who are rich now, you are in danger for you have received your comfort in full. 25 All you who are full now, you are in danger for you shall be hungry. All you who laugh now, you are in danger for you shall grieve and cry. 26 And when everyone speaks well of you, you are in danger for their ancestors spoke well of the false prophets too.In chapter 7 Jesus heals a Roman soldiers servant. Later on, as he dines at the home of a curious religiously elite guy named Simon, he doesn't flinch when a woman of bad reputation enters and starts washing Jesus' feet with her tears. If that weren't sensual enough, she let's her hair down to dry his feet. Then she pours expensive perfume on his feet.
In chapter 8, Luke names the women who also followed Jesus and supported him. I think it's a big deal that he takes the time to acknowledge them by name and list them as his followers.
There are 16 more chapters. I don't have the time to make the exhaustive list in this blog post. I hope it intrigues you to read it for yourself though and consider if your politics aligns with Luke's and Jesus's.