We (finally) turn our attention to Luke's depiction of Christ. Luke's personality is a complex one. As a physician he's one of the most educated men to have written in the Bible. Also, as a physician he's someone who could have appreciated Christ's miracles and healing. He probably had tried to fix people's maladies his entire life. In his search for knowledge, he probably tried to make sense of the suffering that so many faced under the Roman Empire. His experience with Christ's followers and his conversion allowed him to see clearly the One who had all the answers.
Today, we look at how this man who allowed Christ to transform him depicted Christ.
The Calling Announced
No other Gospel lays out Christ's purpose in his own words like Luke does in the 4th chapter of his book (Luke 4:14-30). In that chapter, Christ makes it plain why he's hear and who he is trying to reach. He's not here to establish an earthly kingdom or overthrow a government. He's here to help those in need. The poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind, the bruised. Those are Christ's targets. He's come to deliver them to heal them, to speak deliverance and His good news to them. (v.18) To let them know that it is now time for them to get what they need (v. 19).
That is our purpose. We are not called to create massive campuses and accrue tons of influence and possessions in our communities. Those things may come, but it's not what we were meant for. We were made, called and directed to do as Christ did: reach for the lowest of the low. Free those who could not free themselves. It is not us who do the freeing, but Christ in us and sometimes through us who does the work.
Christ's message of hope was not well received (v. 28). He was nearly murdered on day one of his ministry (v. 29). However, Christ's purpose wasn't to just announce his purpose but to fulfill it. When we choose to serve Christ and go forth to fulfill his purpose in our lives, not everyone is going to receive us well. We will get fought by the devil and his spirits. We'll be fought by secular society as it clings to its carnality. We'll even find that some people within the church try to squash or diffuse our calling because it goes against their views of how things are to be done. It's not our job to fight them off. Simply pass through them. Let their harsh words, their attacks and their blockades be as water rolling off your back. Because if God has called us to a greater purpose, it must be fulfilled. No devil, entity or person can stop it.
Telling It Like It Is
We often think of Jesus for his kindness, mercy and grace. However, Christ has a somber tone, too. The rich, the full, the jovial, the well thought of. They all will face poverty, hunger, sorrow and denial (Luke 6:24-26) It is a stark reminder that living for this life is never fulfilling and that we must keep our eyes on what matters: God's Kingdom and bringing people into it. Wealth will fade, good times will turn sour and people will turn on you for seemingly no reason. God won't forsake you, though.
Further on Christ's somber tone extends to his own country and the city that God gave her-the city He prized (Luke 19:41-44). Christ saw a people that were blind to what God was trying to provide them and it broke His heart. He saw the impending destruction that was coming to this people who denied Him in favor of their own ways. It speaks to us the importance of keeping our eyes peeled for Christ and his movements in our lives. We don't want to miss what Christ is looking to do in us and through us. If we do, Christ laments for us because that way leads to destruction. In our blindness, we will not see Christ, but we will also not see the enemy as he descends upon us to gnash at us with his teeth. At the same time, we must look for those who are spiritually blind with the same passion and desire and hope to open their eyes before they too are consumed by the enemy.
The Christ of Miracles and Redemption
Luke does a great job of not only depicting the miracles Christ performs, but the importance that miracle had for the people he healed. One instance that stands out is in Luke 7. Christ is entering a city and he comes across a funeral procession. Luke makes sure to note that the dead man was the only son of a widow (v. 12). The importance of this was that she would have relied on him to meet their needs. With his death, she would become a ward of the state, a list that was long. She would have most likely ended up homeless and a beggar. Beyond that, she was also now alone. Having already lost her husband, she now lost her only son. Imagine losing your spouse and then your only child. The grief she must have been going through! Christ saw this and had compassion for her. He raised her son from the dead, destroying her despair, depression and grief in one touch of the hand and word of grace.
Christ knows exactly what we are going through and what the ramifications of our situation are. He is not a distant or unfeeling God. He has compassion for us. In an instant, he can turn our situation from mourning into dancing. The question is, will we go and testify of his great deeds when it happens (v16-17)? Christ is looking for some proclaimers. He wants people who will go forth and tell his good news. To speak deliverance and freedom into the lives of those who are bound and bruised. We can do that with our prayers, but we can also do that through our testimony of what Christ has already done. If we will get this mindset, a mindset that is repeated throughout Luke and the other gospels, we'll make Christ known to all them that are hurting. We'll be fulfilling exactly what Christ said he was called to do. We'll be dropping the shade of blindness from people's eyes, too. If we get a testimony in our heart that comes out of our mouth, we'll be doing the exact same Dr. Luke did by writing this gospel: We'll be spreading Christ's good news.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.