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March 11, 2008


Luke dovetails nicely with Mark on the issue of Jesus siding with 'outcasts' over the 'righteous'. Over and over in Luke, the primary objects of salvation are:

1) Tax collectors and sinners (3:12, 5:27-31, 7:29-34, 15:1, 18:10-14, 19:1-10). Luke seems to stress this more than anyone else.

2) Women. Women are regularly held up as models of piety and devotion (1:38, 1:42-45, 2:36-38, 21:1-3). In the Luke 7 account of the immoral woman, Jesus praises the woman and her act of piety while condemning the supposedly pious Simon the Pharisee.

3) The Poor 1:52-53, 3:10-14, 4:18, 6:20-23, 11:41, 12:13-34, 14:12-14, 14:21, 16:19-31). Luke in particular repeatedly draws sharp contrasts between the proud foolishness of the rich versus the need of the poor. The uniquely Lukan parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 is particularly memorable, but this contrast is evident throughout this Gospel (1:52-53, 3:10-14, 11:41, 12:13-34, 18:18-25).

Those who appreciate their plight and the compassion of Christ find salvation. Those who trust in themselves or their riches/societal status have no use for Luke's Jesus, and are excluded from the salvation he brings. Not much has changed. Mark's law-court dynamic nicely summarizes what Luke presents through his gospel - Jesus died for sinners. If only the church would return to its own heritage and once again co-opt Matthew 25 as its standard operating procedure for being the church.

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