Luke was a second generation Christian. He wrote his two volume work (Gospel and Acts) about 80-85 AD, a message of salvation for Gentiles. An educated man with a superb knowledge of Greek and the Old Testament he wrote for gentile Christian communities.
He prefaces Mark’s story with the infancy narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus. Jesus is Saviour, and salvation is for all. Luke’s understanding of salvation embraces the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Salvation is not to be narrowly understood as being achieved by Jesus death alone.
Intimately connected with salvation is God’s compassion and mercy towards sinners. “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (15:7) Repeatedly, Luke mentions Jesus contact with sinners. “the woman of the city who was a sinner.” (7:36-50). In the parable of the Father who rejoices in the return of his son Jesus is telling us: “My father is like this for you”. Luke, alone, records the words of Jesus to the repentant thief: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (23:43). A God for sinners.
A love of the poor and the danger of riches characterize the Gospel. The circumstances of his birth highlight the poverty of Jesus family. Renunciation is a mark of discipleship. “So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” (14:33).
Luke delights to dwell on Jesus tenderness to women. His reverence for women shines in his treatment of Mary, Elizabeth and Anna. He subtly suggests the equality of women in his choice of stories: The stories of Zachary and Mary, Simeon and Anna, Simon the Pharisee and the woman of the anointing. Jesus frees women to be human persons in their own right. They accompany Jesus on his ministry and it is to them in Luke’s Gospel that the news of the Resurrection is announced.
From chapter nine Jesus sets his face towards Jerusalem. While he borrows from Mark and Matthew and other sources Luke ploughs his own furrow giving his Gospel its own distinctive slant, responding to the needs of third generation gentile communities. In Jesus we have received salvation. Luke unfolds the progress of the Good News from Jerusalem to Antioch, to Rome.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries