Wednesday, 6 July 2016
by Pastor Al Robbins
The Gospel of Luke
The Gospel of Luke is written by Luke the Physician, and his orderly mind makes itself known both in the introduction to the book as well as the way that he writes. The introduction indicates that the book was written for a very specific purpose (so that you may know) and for a specific person (most excellent Theophilus) -- Luke 1:4. The description most excellent was generally used only for officials or members of the aristocracy. The name may have been a nickname, however, as it means lover of God or loved by God
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
The book includes many particulars that do not appear in the other Gospels. For example, Luke is the only one who tells the stories of the visitation of Gabriel to Mary, the visit of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the birth of John the Baptist, the birth of Christ and the announcement to the shepherds by the angel Gabriel.
These stories are examples of how Luke presents Jesus as a man who lived the perfect life of the Son of man through the power of the Holy Spirit. This emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people is continued through many of the people Luke writes about.
Some narratives are told from a different viewpoint in Luke's Gospel. Matthew writes of the virgin birth from Joseph's viewpoint and Luke writes from Mary's viewpoint. Matthew and Luke both give a genealogy of Jesus, with Matthew's genealogy beginning with Abraham and moving down to Joseph, the husband of Mary (Matthew 1:1-16). Luke's genealogy begins with Jesus and goes back through Mary's family to Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:23-38).
Luke was likely writing for a Gentile (non-Jewish) audience, as is seen by the fact that Luke explains Jewish customs. He also emphasizes the grace of God being for everyone!
Luke's Gospel is often called a devotional Gospel, as it especially emphasizes prayer. He includes references to Jesus Christ's own prayers, most of which are not mentioned in the other Gospels.
Luke's Gospel has much that is not included in the first two Gospels, and much that has more detail than covered elsewhere. His task was to present everything in an orderly manner, which he accomplished, to show that Jesus was in fact, "a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11). This phrase speaks of the mission of Jesus (Savior) and His anointing and calling (Christ the Lord) as the Messiah. This mission and calling is summed up in this verse:
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John has a number of features that set it apart from the first three Gospels, in that it is quite different in both structure and style. There are no parables in this Gospel, and of the eight miracles that are recorded, only two of them are recorded elsewhere. The book focuses more on the person of Jesus than the teachings of the kingdom. There is a strong theological aspect to the book, and it deals with Jesus' nature and the meaning of faith in Him.
Tradition says that the author is John, the son of Zebedee. who was the last surviving member of the apostles. It also says that he wrote it at Ephesus during his final years. This could explain the theological aspects of the book, as he had had time to put everything into perspective. Whoever the author, the book emphasizes the love of God.
John the apostle is not referred to by name in the book, but rather as the disciple whom Jesus loved several times.
One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
The author is familiar with Jewish traditions, and refers to the Jewish expectation of a coming Messiah. He is also acquainted with the Jewish feasts and explains them carefully for his readers. The book of John starts with the teaching that Jesus is the eternal Word incarnate, and at the end of this passage, he talks about Jesus dwelling among us which indicates that he himself was a witness to the miracles he recorded.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
The key to John's Gospel is written in the author's own words in John 20:29-31. He wrote it so that those who have not seen ... may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, ... and may have life.
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
One of the more well-known things about the Gospel of John is the seven I AMs:
Each of these statements identify more about the person and attributes of Jesus, and identify Him as divine. Because these are titles rather than actual names, the words I AM are an important part of these statements. It refers back to God giving His Name as the I AM THAT I AM in Exodus 3.
John also teaches about the office and work of the Holy Spirit.
Another topic that John emphasizes repeatedly is the Fatherhood of God. He speaks of God as "The Father" over one hundred times. John's emphasis of God as the Father converges seamlessly with his introduction of Jesus as the eternal Word.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus Himself constantly emphasized the unity of His work with the will of the Father. He repeatedly underscores that His mission is to do and speak what the Father tells Him to do.
So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
One of the most well-known scriptures comes from the Gospel of John. It is the declaration of the magnitude of God's love for the world, so great that He gave His Son to provide eternal life for those who believe. There is nothing we can do to earn it, we can only believe in the Son of God and accept the gift of salvation He offers.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Posted on 07/06/2016 4:18 PM by Al Robbins
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