Summary: Introducing the Gospel of Luke and a series on the life of Jesus
From time to time I enjoy reading the epic fail blog. It is a wonderful testament to the intellectual prowess of our culture. I read one story the other day about some police officers. In Corpus Christi, Texas the police department discovered a cache of plants that they initially believed to be marijuana. They had received a tip from an unnamed youth who came across the plant while riding his bike through the park one evening. They seized the crop in what was reported as the largest marijuana seizure in the department’s history. The officers spent hours laboring to remove and tag up to four hundred plants from a city park only to discover after a number of tests that the plant they had worked so hard to confiscate was actually Horse mint turning this enormous drug bust into mere tax payer funded yard work. The sad thing is the horse mint plant itself has very few similarities to actual marijuana. If they had taken a little time to investigate before they acted they could have saved themselves a lot of time and humiliation. You see investigation is one of those steps we often neglect, but it can be hugely valuable.
We are beginning a new series this week on the Gospel of Luke where we will investigate the man who called Himself the Son of God. In our study of the Bible we should never stray too far from the Gospels. While all of Scripture is important and helpful for us in our Christian walk we must not forget that we are Christians. This means that we follow Christ. The only way for us to do that is for us to understand how He lived. The only place we really get to see how Jesus lived is in the gospels.
The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are historical records of the life of Christ and should be treated like a witness’s testimony in the court of law. Yet it is also readily apparent that these books are not strictly a testimony of Christ’s life. We reach this conclusion due to the fact that only a small portion of Jesus life is covered in these books and that they are doing much more than just recording facts.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often referred to as the synoptic Gospels. This comes from two words ‘syn’ where we get out word synonym meaning like or similar and ‘optic’ as in optical which is having to do with sight or looks. Synoptic Gospels are therefore gospels that look similar. The term is very fitting being that about 90% of Mark is directly paralleled in Matthew and over half is seen also in Luke.
The Gospels tell us of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Yet each has its own purpose. Each writer has a statement they are trying to make about who Jesus is. They provide us with the key characteristics that we need to know about Jesus from their own perspectives. So while we see a great deal of similarity between these synoptic gospels they each reveal to us an important part of who Jesus is.
Each gospel writer will actually make a profound statement about their perspective on Jesus in their genealogy. John’s gospel is the most unique. He is writing years after the publication and circulation of the synoptic gospels and so he is essentially filling in some important gaps. He doesn’t give a standard genealogy but he does give one. John 1:1- In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. What is John telling us about Jesus? He is saying that Jesus is God.
Matthew’s traces the genealogy of Jesus through David; the man who killed, the man after God’s own heart. David was the one of the greatest men in the history of Israel. What do you think Matthew is saying in connecting Jesus’ ancestry with David? ASK QUESTION. David was Israel’s greatest king. Matthew is saying that Jesus is the king. His message is that Jesus is Lord and we should submit ourselves to His authority.
Then look at Mark. Mark doesn’t record a genealogy. Why? Who doesn’t have a noteworthy lineage? ASK QUESTION. A servant. Mark is telling us that Jesus is a servant. He does not record a genealogy because a servant doesn’t have one. His gospel emphasizes Jesus heart in coming not to be served but to serve.
Finally we have Luke. Luke writes and his genealogy goes all the way back to Adam. What is Luke saying? What is Luke trying to tell us about Jesus by connecting Him with Adam? ASK QUESTION. Adam was the first man and the father of all men. Luke is saying that Jesus is man. Luke is showing us that Jesus is fully human just like you and me. He is not distant from us. He is our brother. He is one of us.