Going deeper into Luke it is amazing how the author shifts narrators and plays with silence in the first chapter. Luke constantly points to the gospel’s place in history zooming in from Rome, down to Judea, and Galilee and further right down into a family and a miraculous birth in Chapter 2. As the story unfolds he speaks to the gentiles by smoothly closing out the Old Testament with the prophecy of Simeon and building towards Jesus’ ministry. The way being prepared by John the Baptist. There is a lot here: John the Baptist is important and fulfilling prophecy, Isaiah, and an understanding of the Essenes helps fill in some gaps in the narrative. It is important to recognize that John’s baptism went further than the Essenes. John encourages a reflection on the condition of this soul, but feeling remorse, confessing, repenting, and showing fruits. It was to prepare for Christ and for being incorporated into a new covenant community.
There are challenges with the genealogy between Matthew and Luke. Luke looks into Jesus’ genealogy all the way back to God. Why the differences? A levirate marriage, differences in Joseph vs. Mary genealogy, and a reliance on different sources, perhaps? It may be impossible to unravel this enigma. None the less, Jesus is led out into the wilderness after his baptism where he is tempted.
It is interesting to see Jesus’ temptations are like Adam and Eve. Satan tempts with pleasure (of food), good appearance (ego), and wisdom/knowledge instead of trust in God.
After Jesus returns from the wilderness he gathers companions for his quest in Chapters five and six. Luke gives us seven vignettes, three questions, and the gathering of twelve apostles. By the sixth vignette, Jesus has the attention of Jerusalem and the powers of the world. But things are not what they seem, Jesus is gathering crowds from as far as a hundred miles away (Tyre and Sidon). Luke shares his “Sermon on the Plains” with its blessings and woes for the poor or rich, hungry or fed, weeping or laughing, and hated or liked. These are simplified from Matthews Beatitudes. Luke then shows Jesus’ moral and ethical teaching, the dangers of ego, and how to embody these teaching with a smooth conclusion showing Jesus as the solid foundation on which to build a moral life. From here Jesus sets out healing, raising the dead, and most controversially forgiving sins.