Luke

Who Is This Jesus?

During Jesus’ earthly ministry there was a lot of confusion about who he was. Not only did his opponents misunderstand him, but also those closest to him – his very own disciples – often misunderstood him and failed to believe him. Luke’s gospel will help us to be disciples who know Jesus aright and know him well.

Jesus the Disciple Maker

Jesus encountered many different people and groups in his earthly ministry. Some followed because of what they could get out of him while others were more seriously committed to him and his message. We’ll look at how Jesus interacted with these various groups and how his ministry was geared toward making disciples, so that we might learn how we are to be disciples ourselves and how to make disciples of others.

Jesus' Compassion for the Sick and Sinful

From the outset of his public ministry, Jesus shows compassion to many of the people he encounters. Jesus the compassionate healer becomes one of the prominent themes that Luke weaves throughout his gospel account. This is an important part of Jesus’ Messianic mission, and he is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise under the old covenant to compassionately shepherd his people.

As Luke’s faith-building account of Jesus’ person and ministry continues to unfold, he interweaves the theme of opposition with the theme of popularity. Even as Jesus’ fame spreads, he experiences criticism from the religious establishment. This criticism quickly builds to outright hostility as the leaders of the nation conspire to eliminate the threat posed by Jesus.

In this passage from Luke we will look at several important vignettes from Jesus’ opening public ministry phase where he relocates to Galilee. These early stages of his public ministry are characterized by powerful words and deeds, which demonstrate a power and authority never before seen by the people there. This results in early and growing popularity, but also early opposition, which Luke juxtaposes throughout Jesus’ life.

Jesus' Early Public Ministry

In this passage from Luke we will look at several important vignettes from Jesus’ opening public ministry phase where he relocates to Galilee. These early stages of his public ministry are characterized by powerful words and deeds, which demonstrate a power and authority never before seen by the people there. This results in early and growing popularity, but also early opposition, which Luke juxtaposes throughout Jesus’ life.

In Luke 3:1 to 4:13, the writer includes three important episodes in the life of Christ: the appearance of John the Baptist, Jesus’ own baptism and genealogy, and the temptation of Jesus. Each of these is part of the public inauguration of Jesus as Messiah. And each of the episodes points to his other offices: to his coronation as the New King and his consecration as the ultimate prophet and priest. These offices of Jesus are important to properly understanding who he is and what his work is for his people.

A New King and A New Kingdom

As Luke begins to develop his portrait of Jesus, he begins at the beginning, and gives us an account of the birth of John the Baptist and his cousin, Jesus. Luke weaves together the two accounts to show that even though John the Baptist is a great figure in the outworking of God’s redemption, Jesus is the greatest figure. He alone is the Son of the Most High and the new king, who will occupy the throne of David forever. His kingship and kingdom, foretold long ago, have important applications for us today.

A Firm Foundation for Faith

Luke’s gospel gives us a particular portrait of Christ. Why did Luke write it? How did he get his information? How trustworthy is his account? How can we benefit from his approach? These are the questions we’ll be exploring in Luke’s prologue to his gospel.