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The Teachings of Jesus - Luke's Perspective
by Wayne Childress
11/19/2013 / Bible Studies
The Teachings of Jesus - Luke's Perspective
This series has covered the teachings of Jesus as recorded and attributed to Matthew, Mark, and John. I began this series with John and Matthew because they were both known disciples and chosen to be among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. The author of Mark was a helper to the false apostle Paul though he also may have worked with Peter. The writings attributed to these men may have been written by them or someone who learned from them.
Luke was not an Apostle and it is doubtful that Luke was a disciple of Jesus or a student of a known Apostle since neither they nor Luke ever state or imply as much; and, Luke, like Mark, is believed to have been a close friend of Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus, later called Paul, was not a disciple of Jesus - in fact he was one the Pharisees that Jesus warned us not to be like. Paul was never one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. (SEE NOTE1)
Luke's gospel account is not a record of what he witnessed or of what he had been personally told by one of the Twelve Apostles. Luke's writings may or may not be a record of what the students of the Apostles spoke; but, Luke only says that his writings are in accord with what was known and believed at the time he wrote. He was in essence acting as an historian. Others, according to him, were also writing gospel accounts; and, he wanted to record what was "accurate" and much of his writing uses medical terminology for precision (Luke 1:1-4). This should be no surprise to anyone - that is why Luke is classified as one of the "synoptic gospels" - along with Matthew and Mark. Much of what is in one account appears in one or both of the others as well.
As for the teachings of Jesus, one example of this commonality is the so called "Lord's Prayer" which appears in Luke and in Matthew. The fact that the words used are not identical lends credence to the belief that the prayer was meant as a "guide" and not to be spoken by rote and repetition.
Jesus' most important teaching, according to Jesus Himself, also appears from Luke's perspective as a "late comer". I refer to Luke's version of Matthew 22:37and Mark 12:30:
He said to him, what is written in the law, how do you read it? And he answering said, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. And he said to him, you have answered right: this do, and you shall live.
Luke's perspective, like the other gospel accounts, tells us that love of God is paramount; and, loving God means listening to what He tells us to do. Obedience is not optional:
And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luke's perspective, like the other gospel accounts, also stresses loving our fellow man:
But I am saying to you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And to him that smites you on the cheek offer also the other; and him that takes away your shirt forbid not your coat too. Give to every man that asks of you; and of him that takes away your goods ask not again. And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise. For if you love them which love you, what thank have you? for sinners also love those that love them. And if you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have you? for sinners also do even the same. And if you lend to whom you hope to receive, what thank have you? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and the evil.
Luke's perspective, like the other gospel accounts, shows that all our sins are not forgiven. We will be forgiven as we forgive:
Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you shall be forgiven.
Luke's perspective of Jesus' teachings shows us that the love of God and the love of our fellow man are both expected:
But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these you should have done and not to leave the other undone.
Even if you obey all the Ten Commandments you are falling short if you do not also love your fellow man. Not stealing from him is not enough - you must help feed the thirsty and hungry, clothe the poor, shelter the homeless, aid the sick, visit the imprisoned, etc.
Luke's perspective shows us many times that Jesus emphasized obedience and works - we must hear and keep the word, and bear fruit:
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bore fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, he that has ears to hear let him hear.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with endurance.
Notice that throughout Luke, and all the gospels, we must love and obey God, love and forgive others, and we must bear fruit. Anyone who tells you belief without action is all you need for salvation is ignoring what Jesus Himself tells us! This from all four gospel accounts! Jesus' words - not mine.
In Brotherly Love,
NOTE1 - This is not to say that Luke's gospel account is ruined by his friendship with Paul. Luke records more of Jesus' "issues" with the Pharisees - of which Paul was one - than Mark does; and, Luke also records the warning:
In the meantime, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Even in Acts, where Luke focuses more on Paul than the all the other true Twelve Apostles of Jesus combined, Luke records the command from the Holy Spirit (Acts 21:4) for Paul not to travel to Jerusalem; which Paul disobeyed - something no true Apostle would do. This led to the defilement of the temple by Paul's gentile companion Trophimus. Luke even records the conflicting stories Paul told regarding his "conversion" - i.e. compare Acts 9:7 with Acts 22:9.
Luke's perspective is often at odds with that of Paul. Paul misuses and misquotes Scripture (and his abuses are widely preached today) in Romans 3:10 (As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one); but, Luke tells us:
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Paul misuses and misquotes Psalms 14:1-3. Psalm 14 starts by saying:
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.
Luke makes it quite clear that there are people who are righteous - even before Jesus was born! Even David knew there were righteous men and what they did to be righteous - read Psalm 15. Jesus knew there would be righteous men when He returns:
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
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