Friday, March 04, 2005

The Gospel of Luke

I've been doing my daily Bible reading this year from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. Normally I choose translations over paraphrases (NRSV is my favorite), but I have to say I really, really like the new insights I'm getting from reading Peterson's version.

My favorite Gospel--my favorite book in the whole Bible, actually--has always been Luke. A lot of people really like John's Gospel, but there is a tone to that one that has always bothered me, whereas Luke just has a feel to it that speaks to my soul. I always figured a lot of it had to do with the fact that Luke wrote about women more than any of the Gospel writers. Also, he's a scientist and therefore very methodical in his storytelling in Luke/Acts, which appeals to my sense of wanting things to be rational and in order ::coughANALRETENTIVEcough::. Today I begin Luke 1, and Peterson's introduction really intrigued me.

But religion has a long history of...reducing the huge mysteries of God to the respectability of club rules, of shrinking the vast human community to a "membership." But with God there are no outsiders.

Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn't felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.

YES! No wonder Luke has always spoken to me! Where John seems to be the gospel of Skittles Theology, Luke is the Gospel of the outsider included.

I look forward to the next month of reading Luke. Then onto the challenge of reading John in April. Actually, I look forward to that, too. I'm curious what new insights Peterson's Message will bring to one of the books I find most difficult.


At 11:30 AM, Anonymous the_methotaku said...

Luke has always been my favorite Gospel, with John being my second favorite. I think that together they present the whole Jesus. Being postmodern, I'm less concerned with the "historical Jesus" and more concerned with the historiography of Jesus as presented in the various Gospels.


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