Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thoughts On the Gospel According to Luke........: Luke 1 - Ode to the Names...... (part 1)

Ode to the Names ......... the names of first one, then another.... and another, and another simple man and woman...... in Holy Writ......  Men and women, by any other name, still beloved of God, yet given amazing names......   names fit just so, in order to convey to us....... that God is love, has a plan, and wants to reveal it to those who will listen, and look, and hear..... He who has ears, let him hear......

Luke: the Light Bearer, wrote to Theophilus: the God Loving!  (We love Him because He first loved us........ and showed us that love so clearly when God's son became a man...., in particular, He became the Son of Man, to die for us.)

Indeed, though Luke does not use the name 'Son of Man' until the fifth chapter (when Jesus boldly established His own authority to forgive sins), and Jesus did not refer to His needs as a man until He was tempted in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13), the Gospel according to Luke emphasizes Jesus not only as man - but as the Son of Man (see below).  Of the four symbols associated with the four gospels: the lion, the bull, the man, and the eagle, --  it is the man which is associated most directly with the gospel of Luke:  Luke's genealogy goes back to Adam - thus begins with an emphasis on Jesus as the Son of Man - symbolized, of course, by the man; whereas Matthew goes back to Abraham - with an emphasis on Jesus as the King of the sons of Abraham - symbolized by the lion; and John shows Jesus as coming to us from eternity, the Son of God on high - symbolized by the eagle.....; leaving Mark, listing nothing about genealogy: which is more in line with the genealogy of a servant - the bull...... because, for a servant, a genealogy is not really important to any other people in his life.

The Light Bearer tells the God Lover that Jesus, as the Son of Man, fulfilled all that the prophets foretold about the first coming of the Son of Man (Luke 18:31).  As the Son of Man, He called Himself Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5), who, as the Son of Man, out of love for mankind, established in and for Himself, the power to forgive our sins (Luke 5:24); and for that reason He, as the Son of Man, came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:20), yet mankind falsely accused and utterly misunderstood this wondrous Son of Man (Luke 7:34), and betrayed Him into the hands of men (Luke 9:44). He, as the Son of Man, suffered many things - was rejected - and killed (Luke 9:22), even though He, as the Son of Man, stands as the perfect son, in stark contrast to the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).  Yet He is still willing to forgive those who have spoken against the Son of Man (Luke 12:10); moreover, those who do not deny the Son of Man will be accepted by Him before the Father - acknowledged by the Son of Man before the Holy One and His angles (Luke 12:8), those who love the Son of Man will follow Him, will be like Son of Man in that they will be falsely accused on earth (Luke 6:22),  when He comes back, as the Son of Man, He will light up the sky (Luke 17:24), when He is revealed as the Son of Man before mankind again the second time (Luke 17:30), He, as the Son of Man, will be looking for faith (Luke 18:8), yes, when He comes - at an unexpected hour - the Son of Man wants us to be ready! (Luke 12:40).

So here it is, the Light Bearer sharing with the God Loving all about the Gospel, the Good News, about God's Son becoming not only man, but the Son of Man --- to die for us: the Light Bearer sharing The Light of the Son of Man with us, so that we might first receive that light and walk in it, but more than that:  so that we might share that Light with others, that they might walk in the light as well   ------  sharing the light and life of Christ with others just as the Light Bearer did before us, and just as the Son of Man did before him  ----  All so that...... that..... the God-Loving may "know the certainty of the things about which [the God-Loving have] been instructed......"  (Luke 1:4) .... based on that which "the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed down to us." (Luke 1:2) .....which Luke, the Light Bearer, had "carefully investigated [fully] from the first" (Luke 1:3).


So, when did this story begin?  "In the days of King Herod of Judah." (Luke 1:5a)

Herod?  In the days of Herod?  In the days of a trembling, wild, Edomite ass, feeling like a scardy cat, while desperately, though in vain, trying to establish invincible authority over Judea, and likely as not, seeking eternal praise for himself!,.... Where did he seek to establish such praise for himself?  ...... as king of the Province of Judah: with Judah being a name meaning: to confess the nature of God and the fallen, sinful nature of man" and also indicating the Messiah's establishing a way for us to come near to the heart of God!)?

So Herod was brutally seeking praise for himself in the Province of Judah, that is, in the Province of Praise - - - a place specifically established to invite mankind to meet with and praise the Holy One - to become chavarim with Him in His presence...., Him, to whom all praise is due........


So, just focusing on the names thus far in the book of Luke, one can see:

The Light Bearer, sharing with the God-Lover, the veracity of the real life story about the good news, ...the good news about the Son of Man coming as a man to save the sons of men.  A story that begins in days when those, like Esau, had forsaken their birthright, and who by now were desperately, yet in vain, trying to establish their own 'way' (in contrast to The Way of peace)....  trying to establish their-own-way via some pipe dream that they could establish some sort of invincible authority within the Province of Praise  (where we are called upon to praise God as God and recognize men as mere men) - and thereby deny any claim that they needed to confess God as God, & man as man...., with the result that they were terrified by the growing shadow cast more clearly each day - cast by the looming truth that they could never succeed in their quest for supreme heroic gloriousness in the province of praise, and thus, they could never aspire to the highest levels of sublime immortality.


Going further,...... soon.........

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thoughts On the Gospel According to Luke........: Introduction

Ode to meet Jesus - and to breathe His praise from my whole being!!!!  That is the highest calling on my life.  Still, there is another smaller, yet still great ode to consider here, which is simply:  Ode, to meet Luke!

Through the years, teachers have dutifully impressed it on my heart that the Word of God is inspired by the Holy One himself.... There is great peace in resting upon that truth:  A truth which is an awesome force indeed!

Still, there is increasing gratitude swelling up in my heart towards those faithful men who penned the Word, and in the case of the Gospel according to Luke, that would, of course, be Luke.

Yet Luke did not focus on himself at all.  His name never finds its way into his own writings.  His focus is entirely upon Jeshua ha Meshiach!  The Savior, the Promised One!  In response, here at the outset of these Thoughts on the Gospel According to Luke, within my heart there is an ever increasing urgency in prayer:  That we may learn humility both from Luke, and especially from our Lord, and keep our focus on Jesus as the Promised Savior!

But also that we might know to whom we are to carry the Light of Christ.  Luke's main target audience, initially, were the Greeks, and he wrote in a high stylistical Greek form to show respect for the topic at hand, and to express the need for the Greeks he was writing to to take his subject seriously: to take seriously their need for the Gospel of the Messiah, the Christ, the Promised Savior.

God's purpose for Luke was clearly fulfilled in his life.  Luke's name means 'Light'.  The light of the world became the very theme of his life's work.  The result is that he sought to more fully understand the Light of the World, and to walk in that light, and to share that light with others.  Indeed, Jesus had said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life." (John 8:12)  Luke clearly had the Light of life, followed it, and walked in it!  May we also!  But beyond that, Jesus not only extended that light to Luke (and to us), but He also called us all to share it with the world, as Luke has done before us, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

So, how do we come to the Lord and be so filled with His light that we can share it with the kind of confidence in which Luke walked & testified of His Lord?  By being still and just looking at him, knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10).   "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"  (Matthew 6:22-23)

What then if our eye has been bad and full of darkness?  Is there an answer?  Yes, indeed!  Long ago, God promised that, through Jesus, the blind can see again:  "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped."  (Isaiah 35:5)  And indeed, Jesus opened the eyes of the blind (video):  (John 9:1-39)

May He open our eyes more fully, day by day.  For indeed, just as some in this world are born, seeing, yet they see with troubled vision (e.g. - my brother was born with two horizons, and never knew it until he was in his 40's, in spite of his successfully navigating his way into well reputed work as an engineer.... and yes, now he has sought surgery to correct the problem.... finally!, while my eyes never converged, which impacts my life in subtle ways as well....)....., anyway, indeed, just as some in this world are born seeing, yet with troubled vision with their physical eyes, the eyes of our heart and mind can misunderstand what is clearly and plainly right in front of our face......

The Light of life!!!!!

May His Light shine clearly through to our hearts and minds, that we may perceive what the lamp and light is showing us on the path of life..... today!