Opening Our Eyes to Human Suffering

I have found Luke’s gospel to be a valuable resource that speaks good news to all who have experienced marginalization. Luke’s gospel is not a reflection of escapist theology that encourages people to ignore suffering connected to their oppression and focus on heaven. Instead, Luke tells a theological story of Jesus that frames the world of the poor in ways that provide hope and resolve for resistance in the “here and now” and not the “by and by” of heaven. Gospel writers are storytellers. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are not historians. They are “evangelists’ and storytellers, which is why the gospels are viewed as narratives. The story gospel writers tell is not a who and what kind of story. They tell a theological story about God’s work in Jesus and its profound meaning for the world. Luke’s story is the first volume of a two ‐ volume work, including the book of Acts and is the only book in the New Testament with a companion volume. Luke is the longest of the four gospels and his story of the ministry of Jesus is unique in its focus. Many New Testament scholars identify Jesus’s view towards the socially challenged as the most distinctive element of this gospel. Luke portrays Jesus as the one who goes to outcasts ‐ socially and religiously marginalized people like tax collectors, harlots, sick people, publicans and other people considered “sinners.” Jesus affiliates with these people, which creates social scandal in 5:27 ‐ 32 and 7:36 ‐ 50. In Luke’s theological story of Jesus, religious people stay away from these people because somehow, they are evil. Jesus is open and available to Gentiles because he was to be a light to the nations, to the wrong kind of people (7:1 ‐ 10, 11 ‐ 17, 36 ‐ 50; 8:26 ‐ 39; and 19:1 ‐ 10). In fact, this dimension to Luke’s gospel is so important that scholars notice four categories or groups Jesus associates with: (1) people with physical ailments; (2) the poor; (3) women; and (4) the rich or wealthy. Jesus associates with the sick, lepers, and people possessed

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker