Luke: Gospel for Outsiders
Unlocking the Bible, by David Pawson, states the Gospels are the nearest things we have to a biography of Jesus covering His life, death and resurrection. There are four Gospel books in the New Testament each with its own unique focus as God wanted to give us a number of different angles in order for us to grasp the full picture.
Each Gospel writer wanted to convey a particular insight about Jesus and so organized his material accordingly. He wanted to do more than just convey remembered words and deeds of Jesus – he also wanted to give a context in which the life of Jesus could be understood. His viewpoint is not necessarily unique to his Gospel: there is overlap between the writers, but it is clear that each writer has a primary insight.
MARK wrote the first and shortest Gospel, seeing Jesus as the Son of Man.
LUKE wrote the second Gospel and saw Jesus as the Saviour of the world.
MATTHEW wrote the third Gospel, depicting Jesus as the King of the Jews.
JOHN wrote the fourth Gospel, with Jesus as the Son of God.
We need to also consider the each Gospel from the point of view of the reader. Each writer has a particular audience in mind and is concerned to convey his message about Jesus to them.
MATTHEW is concerned for the new believers and his book is arranged in order that we will know how to live as disciples.
JOHN is written for older believers, to encourage them to hold on to their faith in Jesus and also to counteract heresies about John the Baptist and Jesus himself.
On the other hand Mark and Luke were written primarily for unbelievers.
MARK is concerned to excite his readers with news about Jesus so that they might have faith in Him.
LUKE, as the only Gentile author in the Bible, is concerned that fellow Gentiles might know about Christ.
In our next series – Luke – Gospel for Outsiders we will be looking at the Gospel message from an outsider’s point of view and the inclusion into the Gospel message.
Eugene Peterson in the Message Bible says, “Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of the New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common labourers: sheepherders; the radically different: Samaritans; the poor. He will not countenance religion as a private club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on like with no hope of gaining entrance (and who hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.”
Although Luke’s Gospel focuses on the outcast of society, it isn’t ultimately about the women, or any other groups of people who were held in low esteem, but rather it’s about Jesus and the joy of knowing Him.