Sunday night, I started doing my preliminary reading of Luke’s Gospel. This year, we’re going to do something a little different for Advent and Easter, incorporating the two seasons into a single teaching series from that Gospel. We haven’t come up for a title for the teaching series yet, but the idea is to create an overarching study – with a weekly discussion guide for people to have with them when they come together during the week to pray. (I should mention that the series will be concurrent with an emphasis on gathering with other believers in the congregation during the week to pray.)
So, why am I intimidated? The short answer is that a study on the life of Jesus is pretty daunting. There’s no way around it. The longer answer is that Luke’s Gospel is particularly unusual. It is the most Greek of the Gospels, and in many ways it is more similar to a Greek tragedy than to the Hebrew Scriptures. It is part musical, part drama, part morality play, and part theological text.
This is one rich book.
Most traditionalists steer clear of Luke except on Christmas, when they have to read the first couple of chapters. This is probably because it also contains some pretty crazy stuff. There are lots of cast out demons and Holy Spirit kind of things that are a bit off-putting to the casual reader who wants a nice, neat Jesus who always fits the family Bible stereotype. On top of that, Luke changes the order of events from Matthew and Mark, muddying up attempts to synchronize the Gospels into one big, happy story.
For this reason, a lot of modern commentators insist it was the last of the three Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke). I think they miss the point of the book entirely, but that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, I digress.
Here’s to a couple of weeks of intense reading and planning to get ready for the coming seasons!