Fulfilled Among Us
Passage: Luke 1:1–1:4
“Fulfilled Among Us
Luke 1:1-4; 24:44-49
Composition of Luke’s Gospel: Luke acknowledges three stages in the genesis of his work: the “eyewitnesses and servants of the word” who “handed down” the truth of Jesus; those “many” who have already drawn up accounts of Jesus and the early church; and Luke himself, who, having “carefully investigated” these sources, now composes his own “orderly” account.
Overview of Luke’s Gospel: The Gospel According to Luke is the first installment of the two-volume work Luke-Acts. This first volume describes God’s climactic work in the history of salvation through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ; the second volume points to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in forming a renewed people of God.
Luke’s Prologue: the goal of Luke’s prologue is to place his work alongside other church materials that have recounted the eyewitness, apostolic testimony about Jesus. Luke’s unique contribution is found in a fresh presentation of this salvation history, starting from John the Baptist’s birth and running through the extension of the church into Rome. Luke’s work involved investigation that was thorough and careful. In the orderliness of the account and in its careful, systematic presentation, Luke hoped to reassure Theophilus and those like him about the certainty of what the apostles taught about Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise and the fulfillment of salvation, which is now available directly to all nations.
Basic outline of Luke 1:1-4
What’s come before (1:1–2)
- The existence of other “fulfillment” accounts (1:1)
- The source of those accounts (1:2)
Luke’s contribution (1:3–4)
- Luke’s method of composition (1:3)
- The purpose of Luke’s composition: so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (1:4)
Luke 24:44-49: “Fulfillment”
- Jesus the Messiah King must suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day, according to scripture, and then repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations in the power of the Spirit.
What Does Luke Contribute to Our Understanding of the Faith?
- Survey. Luke’s sweeping historical survey starts with Jesus’ conception and birth and ends with his ascension. In between, he includes many stories and teachings of Jesus not found in the other gospels.
- God’s plan. What happens in Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection happens because God is working out a plan that he had set in place long ago and revealed in the OT. Certain events must occur, especially Jesus’ death on the cross (9:22; 17:25; 22:37; 24:7, 44).
- Salvation. Luke’s central theme is God’s plan to provide salvation for the world. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”(19:10). In Jesus, God comes to his people as their Savior. He rescues the lost by providing for the forgiveness of sins (e.g., 1:77; 5:17–26;7:48–50; 19:1–10; 24:46–47).
- Gentiles. Luke by no means ignores Jews, but he emphasizes Gentiles as ultimate recipients of God’s salvation (cf. 4:25–27; 7:1–10;10:30–37; 17:16). This prepares the way for the inclusion of Gentiles in the people of God (see Acts).
- Outcasts. Jesus is concerned for and constantly interacts with the outcasts of Jewish society: the poor (e.g., 1:46–55; 4:18; 6:20–23; 7:22;10:21–22; 14:13, 21–24; 16:19–31; 21:1–4), “sinners” (e.g., those who did not abide by all the pharisaic rituals—5:27–32; 7:28, 30, 34, 36–50; 15:1–2; 19:7), and women (7:36–50; 8:1–3, 48; 10:38–42; 13:10–17; 24:1–12).
- Stewardship. Another facet of Luke’s socioeconomic interest is his emphasis on the need for disciples to reveal their sincerity in following Jesus by the way they handle their money (3:10–14; 12:13–21; 16:1–13; 16:19–31; 19:1–10).