Talking Points on the Gospel of Luke


Let me just say that after listening to the Gospel of Luke, I’m more and more inclined to believe that this Gospel is the most ripe for theological appropriation (especially for liberation theology). Luke is intent that we understand Jesus’ ministry as being one that is offered to the despised, hated, and ostracized in society. This is confirmed in Jesus’ reading in the synagogue from Isaiah in Luke 4,

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

I was reminded of Yoder’s wonderful political reading of the Gospel of Luke in his Politics of Jesus. The proclamation of the jubilee year was key to Jesus’ mission.

I find it interesting that church has always focused on the Beatitudes in Matthew, but not the ones in Luke. Read in Luke 5,

Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

Notice how concrete the Kingdom is. No longer is it the poor in spirit or those who hunger after righteousness that will enter the Kingdom, but it’s merely the poor and hungry.

In Luke 12, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” It is beyond me how some read Jesus as a westernized Buddha. I guess they just focus on John’s Gospel.

Derrida talks about radical hospitality. We let the Other come without conditions whether that Other be meek or monstrous. Unconditional hospitality demands that we cannot discriminate, but rather we open ourselves to allow the Other to lay claim to us. Luke 14, “Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

How weird is this in Luke 22: He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied.”

Of course, in the same chapter one of Jesus’ followers cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus reprimands him, and then promptly heals the servant. So, what was the purpose of the swords again?

I’m currently listening to the Epistles and should have some talking points on those as well in the following days.


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