Luke’s Missionary Message
There are two main categories into which we can group the world’s entire population: the religious and the non-religious. Among those two categories we can divide the religious into monotheists and polytheists, and the non-religious category into agnostics (God-deniers) and apostates (God-disowners). The cross sections which cut through both groups are the aristocracy (upper class), and the proletariat (common class).
When we examine the target audiences to whom the four gospels were written, we can see how each one addresses each group purposely. When Luke wrote his Gospel, he addresses it to the “most excellent Theophilus.” It would be easy to perceive Theophilus as coming from a plethora of backgrounds at various times in his life, such as a Greek religious polytheistic aristocrat who was converted to be a monotheistic Christ-follower. However, being a high-ranking government figure, he could easily have been saved out of a non-religious agnostic or even apostate belief system as well. Regardless of his high ranking before men, his humble standing before God was to being a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ… and as such Luke desired to brief him on the historical facts behind his faith that he may be settled himself, but also share it with others of his class. From that basis arose a unique Gospel written with perfect application to a wide cross-section of the elite and noble.
What is the central message of Luke’s Gospel, then? The facts of the Great Commission message are found in the words recorded in Luke 24:45-46: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” The coordinating conjunction “and” connecting the two ideas suggests that one action follows another in chronological order. Christ, being God, humbled himself to be a suffering servant that he may provide the remission of sins to prideful man who first humbles himself and repents from his sin. Matthew’s Gospel gave us the Great Commission’s mandate, and Mark’s its magnitude, but Luke’s gave us the facts of its message!
Pleading & Plodding!
GFF General Director