3 minutes reading time (610 words)

The Gospel of Luke


The Gospel of Luke, the longest and most detailed gospel, was written by a Gentile physician that most likely never met Jesus. But, this outsider, covers several events and parables not included in the other three Gospels - to begin with, the entire content of the first two chapters, which detail the advent of Jesus, beginning with the histories of Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary, culminating in the nativity. We can thank Luke for the stories of Zacchaeus, the rich man and Lazarus, the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, the penitent thief, as well as the ascension.

But, what I find interesting is that in his recount of Matthew's famous Beatitudes, Luke is actually quite brief. He summed them up this way:

God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.

What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.
Luke 6:20-23

His brevity points us quickly to the heart of the matter - our greatest need in life is spiritual, not physical. He's pretty black and white about it - pressing us to ask ourselves "Are we living for this life and its temporary pleasures or are we living for Jesus and His eternal kingdom?"

An old Kierkegaard story shows the point clearly :

A duck was flying with his flock in the springtime across Europe. During the flight he came down in a Danish barnyard where there were tame ducks. He enjoyed some of their corn. He stayed, for an hour, then for a day, then for a week, then for a month, and finally, because he relished the goof fare and the safety of the barnyard, he stayed all summer. But one autumn day when the flock of wild ducks were winging their way southward again, they passed over the barnyard, and their mate heard their cries. He was stirred with a strange thrill of joy and delight, and with a great flapping of his wings he rose in the air to join his old comrades in their flight. But he found that his good fare had made him so soft and heavy that he could rise no higher than the eaves of the barn. So he dropped back again to the barnyard, and said to himself, "Oh well, my life is safe here and the food is good." Every spring and autumn when he heard the wild ducks calling, his eyes would gleam for a moment and he would begin to flap his wings. But finally the day came when the wild ducks flew over him and uttered their cry, but he paid not the slightest attention to them.

May we never be domesticated! May we never become "so soft and heavy" that we forget to hunger for "the things above" (Colossians 3:1,2).

With his coming, Christ became the source of all satisfaction - "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst!" Followers of Jesus focus on the life to come, not on the fleeting pleasures of this present world. That's the only way to true happiness.

When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. Luke reminds us gently - You think this world is great - just WAIT until you experience heaven!

Confident Humility


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Wednesday, 01 December 2021

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