I think you will see there are enough common elements in these segments to suggest we are dealing with the same intent. But as I said in an earlier Gem there is more variation than we have had in earlier pericopes. Post resurrection, the accounts have diverged more. That makes sense as each writer heads toward their own conclusion and attempts to sum up their themes and round off their gospel. However if you look at the big picture in each gospel the Great Commission and a focus outside of Israel alone is a strong feature. One thing I did when I was at Bible College was to read the four gospels looking solely for the Great Commission, mission, and elements of God’s ultimate purpose through all four gospels. No, I am sorry I am not going to share the verses and my findings with you. Why, because I am mean and selfish and don’t like to share? No, not at all. Rather because it was the best thing I ever did and it opened my eyes to the ubiquitous nature of the Great Commission, seen all over the four gospels. It is foundational to God’s purposes on earth. Having seen that, do you know what I was inspired to do then? To do the same thing with the Old Testament – with the same result. Mission is foundational to the heart of God. When you read either the New Testament or the Old Testament (or both) solely looking at one focused theme you will be astounded at what you find. It is absolutely clear to me that mission is the essence of the fabric of the Kingdom of God and the thrust of the Bible.
However I have told you over and over that each gospel writer has a particular task or purpose in mind in writing their gospel which I trust I have demonstrated as we have worked out way through Luke’s Gospel. The variations in details, insertions, omissions, word changes and other differences give us a clue to each writer’s purpose. If we pay careful attention to these differences we will gain a sharper understanding of the purpose and direction of each writer. Being able to compare accounts is a strong tool. I have told you before we are like CSI Investigators. That is why we have named Deeper Bible students CSU Investigators and made T-Shirts to fit the theme. The CSI detective always pays close attention to the differences in testimony that each witness gives. Not to find fault and claim falsity but to back up the notion that this is indeed an eye witness. These disciples were eye witnesses to the events following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Oh true, they did not see Him rise and come out of the tomb with their own eyes. But they saw enough other evidence to convince them of the truth of it all and tell the world in such a way that the story and the effect has lasted until today – in 21st Century. That is remarkable. I will talk to you about that in more detail in the next Gem.
For now I would like to address the matter of the missing Commission in Luke. I think I have dealt with, or at least drawn your attention to the fact that the Great Commission is not just attached to the end of each gospel. Each gospel has the commission and mission woven through its pages. Check it out for yourself as I have suggested above. Now what about the accusation that Luke doesn’t really included the Great Commission and the mission thrust to the world in his Gospel. Yes totally and utterly true. He doesn’t include it with power and focus at the end of his Gospel. The critics claims are right. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t covered it, nor that he thought it was unimportant. He wrote his second book in order to cover it all. Luke considered it important enough to spend a whole book on it and incidentally the longest book of the New Testament. He was not ignoring the Great Commission in the slightest. He turned it into a major feature of His writings with such verses as:
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!”Luke 1:31-33
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David, just as He promised through His holy prophets long ago.Luke 1:68-70
You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”Luke 1:77-79
I have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of Your people Israel!”Luke 2:30-32
“And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.'”Luke 3:6
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favour has come. ”Luke 4:18-19
“Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”Luke 4:25-27
So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.Luke 5:24, 32
There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon.
They had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed.Luke 6:18
When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following Him, He said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!”Luke 7:9
Then He told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.Luke 7:22
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!”Luke 7:39
Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and Your brothers are outside, and they want to see You.” Jesus replied, “My mother and My brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”Luke 8:20-21
Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.Luke 9:2, 6
They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about His exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem. As the time drew near for Him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival.Luke 9:31, 51-52
The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied with the Parable of the Good SamaritanLuke 10:27-30
Then He turned to His host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” He said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbours. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’Luke 14:12-14
After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.Luke 14:22-23
In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!Luke 15:7
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As He entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”Luk 17:11-13
He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him for what He had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”Luke 17:16-18
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”Luke 19:9-10
It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.Luke 24:47-48
AND if you were awake and observant you would see that Robertson and I included the parallels between the end of Luke and beginning of Acts so you could see there is a seamless flow between Luke’s Gospel and the Book of The Acts of the Apostles. I will have more to say about that in my last Gem on Luke. Luke and Acts go together hence as David Pawson suggests we have History 1 and History 2 or Luke 1 and Luke 2. Luke 2 or Acts is focused on the unfolding of the Great Commission as it spreads from Jerusalem to Judea through Samaria to the outer most parts of the earth. To suggest that Luke hasn’t focused on the Great Commission is to miss the point that the Book of Acts is the outworking of Acts 1:8 which is the Great Commission. Luke gives us the history or the rundown of the initial phase of the Great Commission starting in Jerusalem and moving outward.
I will work through the remaining two segments, this and the ascension but will not deal with everything. I will select some of the questions – mine and yours – to focus on but not all. This Gem has already grown after I included the above verses from Luke so I think I will leave it there. We will cover the above text tomorrow and pull it apart and then follow up with the Ascension passage. Then I have officially finished gemming Luke. Really just two more Gems and we are done for Luke? That’s the plan, but it will depend on your questions and comments. Remember these Gems are “live”.
The aim of Israel’s history: “That all the peoples of the earth may know that Yahweh is God; there is no other.”1 Kings 8:60
The Bible without the Holy Spirit is a sundial by moonlight.Dwight L. Moody
Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear.Anon
When you trust God to fulfil the promises He’s given you, all the forces of darkness cannot stop God from bringing your dreams to pass.Anon
Give God what is right, not what is left.Ian Vail