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Luke 7-10

Luke 7-10

The concern for Greeks and other Gentiles evident in Luke’s writings is good news indeed for those outside the covenants with Israel and without hope in the world. If even the outcast can be saved, then there is real hope for fallen creation. And Luke’s gospel shows us that God’s love for the outcast is not limited to the Gentiles, but is also for those considered outcasts within the Jewish nation. Women in the first century were looked down upon in Jewish society, but Christ showed His respect for them in His willingness to instruct them just as He also instructed men (Luke 10:38–42). This was a revolutionary act as most rabbis would not take on female disciples. Luke tells us that several wealthy women supported Jesus’ mission financially (Luke 8:1–3), and, as with the other gospel writers, reveals how they were faithful to stay with Jesus in His hour of greatest need even as His male disciples fled at the first sign of trouble.

The poor, who were considered outcasts in many parts of first-century Jewish society due to a belief that righteousness and riches went hand-in-hand, receive special attention in Luke’s gospel as well. God, Luke tells us, has a special concern for those in poverty. Mary and Joseph were poor according to the things of this world, for they could offer only turtledoves and pigeons in the temple. Paradoxically, the couple was rich beyond measure, for they were tasked with raising the Messiah to adulthood. Luke also brings out Jesus’ concern for those in need, recording the Lord’s teaching that the kingdom belongs to the poor and hungry who trust Christ. The point of course is not that the impoverished are somehow inherently righteous or worthy of God’s love. Instead, this concern for the poor indicates that our Creator will search out those whom society might otherwise forget or cast aside. His kingdom is not for the strong and mighty, but for the humble and weak, and those who are poor, because they have no material goods to trust in, are often among those who are most aware of their weaknesses. Such poverty of spirit is required of all who would be saved, whether or not they are materially successful.

Humanly speaking, nothing required Luke to record these aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. He could have chosen other events to describe, for he, just like the other Evangelists, had no shortage of material from which to draw upon. Under the direction of God the Holy Spirit, however, Luke gave us a gospel that shows the historicity of the Christian faith and emphasizes the Almighty’s concern for Gentiles and other outcasts. We can be grateful for these emphases because they give all of us who have been cast out of the kingdom on account of our sin, Jew and Gentile alike, real hope that God has intervened in history and will not regard forever as outcasts all those who believe on His Son.

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