As we have approached Luke's Gospel in this way, we have noted how the Gospels complement one another in a totally believable way. In a court of law when the stories of independent witnesses blend into one another seamlessly a jury is convinced. And we cannot fault Luke for twisting facts with an ulterior motive in mind. This is simply how it happened.
In the description of the cross the stark facts are given. We sense a terrible injustice is perpetrated, but we need not feel sorry for Jesus. He is totally in control.
Similarly Jesus' care for women emerges without any attempt at making a point. By the time Luke is writing Luke-Acts a huge shift in the status of women has already taken place in the early churches. This explains the astonishing impact on Saul of Tarsus (see 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 and the article "How did Paul change from being a male chauvinist rabbi?").
The greatest attacks against Luke's Gospel are leveled at his description of the virginal conception in the first two chapters. But these attacks are based on a prior assumption that virgins don't conceive without sexual intercourse. And there is an ever greater assumption that Jesus cannot have been the eternal Son of God who is described as reigning as Messiah King in the Psalms and Old Testament prophets. Luke takes that basic fact of our Trinitarian Theistic model for granted, but it is not preached at us. We never hear "This explains the Trinity."
For the past hundred years seminary students have had to spend hundreds of hours on the historical method of New Testament studies. That model leaves out the basic theological facts of the incarnation and resurrection, and we soon discover it is useless for Sunday by Sunday preaching of the Christian faith. Begin with what Luke and the other Gospels wrote for us, and we have the wonderful good news that has nourished the universal Church for 2000 years. Contradictions and inconsistencies are mainly created by the prior assumptions of a Unitarian model (see article on "Trinity and Unitarianism").
Luke describes the relentless opposition of the theologians of Jesus' day and the prediction of the decimation of the religious establishment of Jerusalem in AD 70. He does not belabor the point, but we just know from his careful description that the opposing theologians were hopelessly wrong. Jesus weeps over their fate and the plight of the innocent people that were deceived by them. But we are never told "I told you so." The carefully collected facts speak for themself.
I have been wonderfully enriched by working at this commentary, and I offer it as a resource for Gospel preaching all over the world. There is much more to understand, but for that we need the Holy Spirit to do for us what happened on the road to Emmaus. "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" (24:32, see 24:27, 35, 44, Acts 1:2).
Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) is glad to receive corrections to this work at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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