Luke Part One Deep Dive
Welcome to Deep Dive! Our Deep Dive posts allows us to go even deeper into the themes, language and theology of the book that we are reading. It is up to you how deep you want to go in your journey as you study each book, we have three levels: Snapshot, Dive or Deep Dive.
For this Deep Dive, I want to take you a little further into the themes and language found in the book of Luke. This incredible book, as we have learnt, is the first of a two part series: Luke-Acts. There are specific things that we are meant to understand but can only be seen when we read the two books together, so let me show you some of these themes.
Did any of you get to the end of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ (the second movie of The Hobbit series) and cry out ‘No!’ so loud in the theatre that you embarrassed everyone that came with you? I did; I couldn’t believe that they stopped it when they did – but it made me want to watch the next one when it came out. Now, imagine never seeing the last movie, it would be so frustrating leaving it in the middle of the story! You can just see Luke sitting in heaven waiting for us to see all the incredible themes and topics that we are meant to see in Luke-Acts, but we stop after the first book and completely miss the connection.
When reading the New Testament, it’s great to remember that these books were read aloud and, most of the time, in one sitting. They would have picked up on repeated themes, phrases, movements in the text – things that we miss when we pull verses out or just read bits and pieces. Considering this, let's dive into Luke-Acts and let me show you some connections that will help you adore these two books.
The Geographical Connection
Luke has a geographical purpose in these books. You see in Luke-Acts that the books have geographical movement. In my first “Trash Your Bible” Bible, I highlighted all the of the locations in Luke-Acts in one colour so I could see the movement throughout the books.
Luke begins at Jesus’ life in Galilee (Chapters 4:14-9:50) and then we see the movement from Galilee to Jerusalem (Chapters 9:51-19:44). We have the climax of the book as Jesus reaches Jerusalem (Chapters 19:45-21:38), ending in the Crucifixion (Chapters 22:1-23:56) and the resurrection (Chapter 24:53). Now, if you stop reading when you finish Luke, you would think that the geographical movement stops here – it doesn’t! In your snapshot for Acts, I am going to show you that Luke takes the journey further, and what happened in Jerusalem with Jesus’ death and resurrection then reverberates back out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. We finish Acts in Rome, with a sonic boom sending the shock waves of the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
The Gentile Connection
Another connection in Luke-Acts is the Gentile connection. As you read Luke, you will find a lot of references to the poor and marginalised. Now when we say ‘poor’ we are not just talking about financially poor. For Luke, ‘poor’ has little to do with wealth, he is referring to those who are marginalised from society, those who have been rejected, the outcasts. We see Jesus ministering to Samaritans, women and children. Looking across the two books, you find that Luke sets the scene for the inclusion of these ‘outcasts’ into the people of God in Acts. The key terms you are going to find in Luke are ‘the poor’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘sinners’ and ‘repentance’. You can see hanging around with Paul gave Luke a passion, his heart is towards those who need Jesus and the book is centred around presenting Jesus as the compassionate Son of Man who came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
As you go a little deeper into the New Testament books, the intended audience becomes a great key in understanding the intention and focus of the books. So, why do we care about the intended audience for the book, isn’t the Bible across time and intended for everyone? When you communicate in any form, letter, email, preach or lecture, knowing and understanding the intended audience is essential in ensuring that the communication is effective. If I was going to preach at a Youth Camp, I am not going to use academic language like your ‘eschatology impacts your ecclesiology’, I am going to say ‘what you think is going to happen to you after you die impacts the way you will live your life and what you think about the church today’.
So as you read the different books, I want you to start to notice the language used to communicate the message to the intended audience. In Luke, the intended audience is primarily Gentile, and the reason we think this is that he frequently explains Jewish locations (Chapters 4:31, 8:26, 21:37, 23:51, 24:13) and this would be unnecessary if his audience were Jews. He uses language more familiar to Gentiles, for example his use of the word ‘didaskolos’, rather than ‘rabbi’, for teacher. He also traces the genealogy all the way back to Adam, rather than the more Jewish way of tracing it back to Abraham. Scholars believe this was done to show that Jesus was a representative of all mankind rather than just the Jewish nation. The language of the book is going to be inclusive, it is going to show the evangelistic message of Jesus and therefore the mission of Acts. The reason we are getting you to read the books in full is so you can see these incredible themes and start to identify the language that helps give your reading a whole different depth and understanding.
Next week in our Deep Dive, Ryan Kerrison is going to take us into Salvation History and walk us through some terms that we find in the language of salvation. Happy reading!