Friday, December 22, 2017

Reading Through the Gospel of Luke #2 (Chapters 3-4)

Bock LukeThis post is the second in my reading through the Gospel of Luke accompanied by Luke, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, by Darrell L. Bock. Chapters 3-4 record the preparation for and beginning of Jesus’ ministry. I am posting from my reading in the New Testament accompanied by various commentaries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and welcome comments and discussion on my Facebook page. I am using the Logos version of the book. As usual my comments are in black and quotes from the book are in blue. Again, I am not sure why the page numbers in the IVP series do not come up in Logos, but I will reference the quotes with the corresponding scripture reference.

Chapter 3 records John's ministry of preparation of the nation for the coming of Messiah and then his presentation of Jesus when He comes. John is the promised Elijah who will prepare the hearts of the people to receive the Messiah. The preparation involves a hard look at one's character and actions in light of what God requires and to repent, change one's mind and heart. to what God wants. This evidence of this is in loving, merciful, relationships that serve God and others, especially the needy. Jesus is presented to the nation by John's baptism, in which He identifies with the plight of sinful humanity. Jesus is then validated by the Spirit descending as a dove and the voice of the Father, which identifies Him as the promised King, unique beloved Son of God, and the Servant promised through the prophet Isaiah. Jesus, anointed by the Spirit, is now ready to carry out His mission.

What pleases God is responding to him and showing concrete kindness to others. Such kindness involves compassion and concern for those in need, an ethical value that has corporate and individual dimensions. Authority should mean not the wielding of power but faithful service. Such is to be the life of God’s saint still, as James 1:26–27 makes clear. Luke 3:1-20

In this short event heaven places its endorsing stamp on Jesus. He is the promised regal Son, the chosen one, unique in his call. He reveals the will of God and serves him. This is the one for whom John prepared the people. Anointed with the Spirit, Jesus is truly the Christ, a term that means “anointed one” (4:18). He is ready to minister and carry out his call. Luke 3:21-22

Jesus has a claim to the throne through David and is related to all humankind through Adam. He has the proper roots to be God’s promised one. He has the right heritage to inherit this ministry of deliverance. His roots extend to David, Abraham and Adam. God has carefully designed his plan. There are no historical surprises in Jesus. Ultimately all humanity is a unit, and Jesus is concerned with more than deliverance of the tiny, elect nation of Israel. Luke 3:23-38

Luke closes the section on Jesus' preparation and presentation for ministry with the account of His temptation (4.1-13). Jesus' character, trust in the Father, and reliance on the Spirit are proven in action and show that He is the One worthy to be Messiah and bringer of the Kingdom. In addition, Jesus reprises the temptations in the Garden of Eden and in the post-Exodus wilderness, but where Adam and Eve and Moses and the Israelites failed, Jesus passes perfectly. Jesus' trust in God's word and God's care provide the example for how we are to do God's kingdom work today.

Jesus’ numerous quotes from Deuteronomy in response to these wilderness temptations recall another time and place where temptation and God’s chosen met in the wilderness. During the exodus, the Israelite nation failed this test. Jesus succeeds where Israel failed. What is more, the genealogy immediately preceding this account has named Jesus as Son of Adam and Son of God. The echo of Genesis 3 cannot be missed. What Adam failed to do as representative of all humanity, Jesus succeeds in doing. Jesus’ success is the first of many TKOs Jesus will deliver against Satan. Darrell L. Bock, Luke 4.1-13

For Jesus, truth is living in awareness of God’s promise of care and relying on him even when God leads him into the wilderness. If Jesus is God’s beloved Son, as was declared at the baptism, God will care for him. Such trust is exemplary. Darrell L. Bock, Luke 4.1-13

4.14 begins a new section in which Jesus and His kingdom ministry is presented to the nation of Israel. The rest of chapter 4 introduces Jesus to the nation and focuses on His miracles and teaching. Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee and Luke has Jesus introduce Himself in a synagogue service in Nazareth. Jesus claims to be the fulfillment of all of God's kingdom promises to Israel. Sadly, his hometown people reject His claim. This will be repeated throughout the nation with disastrous consequences. The rest of the chapter summarizes Jesus ministry activity as he compassionately reaches out to heal the nation with physical healings, exorcisms, forgiveness and release of God's power. He shows that He has the authority to overcome the effects of sin and to overcome the oppression of the forces of darkness and evil. God's kingdom has come. How will the nation respond?

Jesus makes three points: (1) Jesus is anointed with the Spirit. (2) He is the prophet of fulfillment who declares good news...(3) Jesus is the one who brings release as well as the one who proclaims it. He is Messiah...The Son of David brings not only a future rule but also present release from sin and a reversal of the effects of Satan’s presence in the world. In short, this is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise, and Jesus is the source of that fulfillment. Luke 4.14-30

Forces stand opposed to humanity that pull down and bring sin, pain and pressure. Being under demonic oppression is like being trapped in a prison of pain and despair. Jesus offers release from such pain and dark despair. That is what his miracles picture and point to, the reality beyond the act of the miracle (11:14–23). Luke 4.31-44

Jesus does not proclaim who he is; he lets events explain who he is. For him, actions speak louder than words. He is more than an ethical instructor or a psychologist; he has power to overcome the forces of evil that plague humanity. His ministry is not designed for a little corner, but it extends far and wide to take the message out to others. So Jesus takes his message and ministry to the other synagogues of Galilee. Luke 4.31-44

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