Many Bible commentators believe that Luke was the sole Gentile to write a Book which became a part of the Jewish-Christian Scriptures. All the other authors were Jewish. In the early chapters of Luke’s Gospel, we see the saving message of Jesus beginning to burst the wineskins of Judaism (Luke 5:33-39).
Luke clearly portrays Jesus as the Messiah and Savior for both Jew and Gentile, who has come to destroy the dividing wall of hostility between these two alienated groups (Ephesians 2:11–22). For example, in Luke 2:10, the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth declares to the shepherds that he is bringing “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Not only Jews, but for all people.
When the baby Jesus was being presented to God at the Jerusalem Temple, Simeon prophesied these words regarding Jesus: “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people (i.e. Jewish shepherds & Gentile magi), a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32). Luke demonstrates a heart not only for Jewish people but Gentiles as well.
In Luke 4:14-30, we read of Jesus’ first message as He preaches in a synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. He opens by quoting from Isaiah 61:1&2 which is a Jubilee passage proclaiming liberty and healing for the captives and hurting. He then points out that both Elijah and Elisha had significant ministry with Gentiles in need (Luke 4:23-27). In response, the Jews wanted to kill him (Luke 4:28-30). These synagogue worshipers were not ready to receive the new wine of Jesus. They preferred the old wine and wineskins of Judaism (Luke 5:37-39).
In his Gospel, Luke continues to exhibit a sensitivity to those who were typically ignored and or disdained by the average religious Jew. For example, we read about the Gentile centurion who is commended by Jesus with these words: “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (Luke 7:9) In Luke 7:11-17, we read of the widow of Nain who is grieving the death of her only son. Jesus’ heart goes out to her and He raises the son from the dead and gives him back to her mother. Luke is the only Gospel writer to mention this incident in Jesus’ ministry. Luke also mentions the sinful woman who anointed Jesus with perfume in Luke 7:36-50. This woman was held in contempt by the Pharisee who was hosting Jesus at a meal.
Luke demonstrates a prophetic vision regarding what will be the impact of Jesus and the Gospel on the whole world. He seeks to clearly demonstrate that Jesus will be good news for all people, especially those who are marginalized by the mainstream of society, including the “religious” mainstream. I want to close with a question: Do you express the breadth of vision and generosity of heart that Luke expressed in his writings or do you express the provincial vision and shrivelled-up heart of the religious who so vehemently opposed Jesus. How do you think of the marginalized and the easy-to-despise people of of our culture? Do you make friends with them or just wish that they would go away? What would Jesus do? Oh LORD, let us not give in to our fears and prejudices, but let us give ourselves over to the Lord Jesus in a greater surrender that we may be greater channels of His redeeming love. Remember Jesus’ words in Luke 6:32: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.” In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John