Good News of Great Joy

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;” Luke 2:10 NASB

Having finished 1&2 Peter last week, we now turn our attention to Luke/Acts and the writings of Paul.

Luke was a companion of Paul on his missionary journeys as well as being referred to as the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14). We know Luke to be a scholar and historian and the only Gentile (non-Jew) Gospel writer.

As we work our way through this section of the reading plan, from now until the end of the summer, we will see how the ministry to the Gentiles developed in the early church.

Luke wrote his Gospel so that his readers would understand that the gospel is for all, both Jews and Gentiles alike.

Luke helps us to see Jesus as the Son of Man, His mission to seek and save the lost, and His rejection by Israel. The priority of Jesus’s mission was to share the heart of the Father and the message of the kingdom.

Because of this rejection, Jesus also preached to Gentiles so that they could know the plan of salvation – Jesus is the promised one of God as prophesied in the OT and as attested through God’s saving activity in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

A running theme in Luke’s gospel is Jesus’ compassion for Gentiles, Samaritans, women, children, tax collectors, sinners, and others often regarded as outcasts in Israel.

Luke retells the stories, parables and other teachings of Jesus in a way that consistently emphasizes that the gospel is a matter of the heart, the inner person, not mere external religion.

The religious leaders of the day had missed this point – Jesus would constantly challenge them to look inside themselves to see their need for a savior. The leaders had sought the favor of men over the favor of God.

Luke serves as a reminder that Jesus constantly reveals the heart motivations behind our actions and pushes us toward opening our hearts in humility toward God.

As a result, the gospel in Luke is often presented as a call to reevaluate everything in the world according to God’s perspective, not ours.

This means valuing humility over prestige, mercy over justice, favor with God over favor with people, and — especially challenging to us — valuing a rich relationship with God over the power of money.

Luke teaches us that the gospel includes the message of peace, the offer of forgiveness of sins through repentance, the promise of inheriting eternal life, the invitation to enter the kingdom of God, and the joy of being with Jesus as a disciple.

Read Luke with an eye on your own heart.  Let the Holy Spirit speak to you as Luke tells the story of Jesus.

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken from: ESV Study Bible and The Gospel Transformation Bible

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