This next Sunday, we begin a teaching series called The Family that will take us through the life of Jesus as told by a first-century doctor named Luke. To help us prepare, we'll take this week to address some background questions about this story. Today's question - out of everything we could talk about in the Bible, why are we getting into Luke's story?
I plan our teaching about a year in advance and try to get a good balance of different biblical genres and topics so that over a 4-5 year period we're hitting parts of the entire Bible.
So when I sat down last December and started to map out 2010, I knew it had been awhile since we had studied any of the gospels [NOTE: in this instance, 'gospels' refers to the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - each of which tells the story of the life of Jesus from a slightly different missiological angle and taken together gives us a robust picture of Jesus during his time on earth]. And when we had studied Mark's gospel, it was during a summer when many of our students were gone and we sprinted through it, covering an entire chapter each week.
So I felt like this would be a great time to dive back into the heart of the biblical story - I mean, everything in the Old Testament points to these events and everything else in the New Testament points back to this story. So this is the jelly in the doughnut, so to speak.
Now what drew me to Luke is that because it's the story of a homeless Jewish man written to a wealthy Gentile, it has some far-reaching possibilities in a church context that is increasingly multi-cultural. It speaks directly to the habits and worldview of religious insiders and outsiders. It says something to people living in the suburbs, to students on the UGA campus, and to a diverse community in downtown Athens that is unified in its disinterest in American Southern Suburban Christianity.
My hunch, even before I really begin to pick the story apart and get to the heart of the thing, was that this would be pretty volatile. If you let the story come into contact with real life, there are going to be tears - sometimes tears of comfort and at times tears of conviction. The Jesus we find in Luke's story is impossible to ignore.