1.1 Background To Gospel
What is a gospel?
literally 'good news', there are four gospels in the NT. The gospels talk about Jesus' life and teachings.
Christians were persecuted for their beliefs by both Jews and Romans, teachings from Jesus were passed around orally to give them hope. Eyewitnesses were important but soon began to die out, there was a need to write everything down. Luke is thought to have been written between 70-90CE.
Luke's gospel focuses on history. He also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. A source is a text or person that supplies information. Sources can be more or less reliable, depending on whether it is biased. Luke seems to have used three sources: Mark's gospel (access to Peter's memories), Q(uelle) source (written oral word, Jesus' sayings and parables), and L source, thought to have been Mary mother of God. Parables found only in Luke include: the sinful woman. martha and mary, widow of nain, good samaritan, prodigal son, persistent neighbour, rich man and lazarus.
1.3 Who was Luke
Luke was a gentile, a non-jewish Christian, and Greek. He was a doctor, a physician, who spent time with Paul on his travels.
In his gospel, Luke puts emphasis on women, Gentiles, the poor, children, outsiders, and the oppressed, to convey the idea of Univeralism, and that Jesus came to save everyone.
Jesus is also presented as a prophet, he quoted Isaiah 'the spirit is upon me', which is a sign of a prophet. Parallels between Jesus' work and that of Elijah and Amos.
Jesus is presented in the perspective of faith in him as sent by God to save humanity. Jews believed God intervened from time to time to save them.
1.4 Palestine at the Time
When Jesus was alive, Palestine was occupied by the Romans. Jesus was probably born around 4-5BCE and died around 33CE.
Most powerful religous group; able to interpret the Law/Torah. Disliked romans, but had to be non violent in order to work with them. The halakhah was the oral part of the Law, which included 613 commandments. Jesus often had debates with them, they agreed that there was life after death.
Upper class; did not believe in oral law and only accepted the Pentateuch.
Wanted a saviour that would overthrow the Romans, they themselves were willling to use violence to do so. 'Sicarii' carried a small knife called a 'sica'. (Judas? ISCARIOT wanted to start war between Jesus and Romans?)
The Priests controlled the Temple and were assisted by Levites.
1.6 Who was Jesus
- son of Mary and Joseph
- born in Bethlehem
- cousin of John the Baptist
- hebrew education
- teacher, preacher
Christians believe that in his life and death, Jesus set people free from the power of evil and sin, he was a saviour.
1.7 Jesus' Authority
Authority: power to give orders to others and expect obedience.
Jesus would have great authority, being the Son of God. Luke 4:16-21 Jesus recognises that he is fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah. He is empowered/anointed by the Holy Spirit and has come to:
- bring the good news to the poor
- set captives free
- restore sight to the blind
- free the oppressed
- announce that the Kingdom of God has come
Jesus' authority was recognised by others too:
- shepherds: "in David's town your SAVIOUR is born"
- Simeon & Anna in the temple, he would bring salvation
- Baptism: 'you are my son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.'
- Transfiguration: 'This is my son, my chosen, listen to him.'
- Roman centurion
- 'Son of the Most High' Legion, Angel Gabriel
1.8: Persecution of Christians
Under emperor Nero:
- covered in animal skin and torn to death by dogs
- set on fire, as torches
The Gospel would have given early Christians hope in these hard times:
- God's ability to save those that are suffering is demonstrated
- Promise of resurrection for those who die for their faith
- Jesus made it clear that he was the saviour
- The holy spirit would help them and give them strength to cope
1.9 Intro to the Gospel
'Lover of God', maybe a Roman official, or maybe a general term for all believers; wants an 'orderly account'- circulating material wasn't organised.
Aware of other versions of the story of Jesus' life, doesn't say whether used them as sources. Luke is clearly cross referencing to make the most accurate version, which increases it's reliability in the reader's eyes.
'By those who saw'
Luke was writing when some eyewitnesses were still alive and able to share experiences- primary source.
1.10 Jesus in Nazareth
Synagogue: where Jews worship on Sabbath
- Jesus will be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord- Messianic significance.
- 'Year of the Lord' every 49 years: slaves freed, debts wiped out, property returned to orginial owner, land fertile again,
- Jesus clearly believes it is his role to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy
The Rejection by the Crowd
- he was only 'Joseph's son' nothing special
- prophesised that he would be rejected, purposefully stirred crowd
- demanded a miracle, Jesus refused
- wanted to throw him down cliff, jesus walks through crowd, demonstrates his POWER
Elisha&Elijah. Jesus is implying that he has not come only for Israelites, but for all people, UNIVERSALISM.
1.12 Interpreting the Gospel
Luke's gospel can inspire Christians to improve their lives.
MARTIN LUTHER KING
Followed the belief that we are all equal in God's eyes.
Worked for Civil Rights in the 50s and 60s.
Believed the governement should be challenged on racist laws and practices.
Inspired by his youth: 'white only' signs & asked to stand at back of shop, even when empty,
Non violent demonstrations and marches in 60s.
1963- march in WDC where he gave famous speech 'I have a dream' preaching equality.
1964- Nobel peace prize,