Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jesus in Luke's Gospel P2: His Entry into Humanity's Pain & Plight

Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Yesterday we considered Jesus Christ in Luke's Gospel in terms of how He is presented, as well as key themes and outline of the Book.  Today I want the reader to consider Luke a little bit further.  Matthew presents the Majesty of Jesus as King and Mark's Gospel focuses upon the Mission of Jesus Christ.  In Luke we see Jesus in His full humanity as the Perfect Mediator.  He alone can represent sinful man before Holy God and mediates between God and people who by grace through faith have believed on Him. (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 1:9-2:2)  Throughout Luke's Gospel we see Jesus accomplishing His role as Mediator in how He willingly enters into huamnity's pain and plight.  Though we won't be able to cover all the verses in Luke that unfold this truth, we can sketch out some exceptional passages in Luke narrative that reveal how Jesus entered into humanity's pain.

1. His entry point was by the virgin birth.  Luke 1:31-34
Luke 1:31-34 states - "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  Jesus in Eternity willingly agreed with God the Father to journey from Eternity into time by way of the virgin conception and birth. (Hebrews 10:4-7) Such a journey meant Jesus humbling Himself and stooping into the depths of human limitations and frailty, yet without sin. (Philippians 2:5-11) 

2. His inclusion in huamnity's bloodline reveals His further efforts to enter into humanity's pain.  Luke 3:23-38
When you read Luke's geneaology of Jesus, you get a list of 72 generations stretching over 4,000 years from Jesus back to Adam.  Mankind is a rusted chain of rotted links that, when pulled up from the depths of history, suddenly has one perfect golden link - Jesus Christ.  Luke's purpose in the geneaology is to show Jesus the New Adam in contrast to the Old Adam, a theme spoken elsewhere in the New Testament. (Romans 5:11-21; 1 Corinthians 15:42-49)  Jesus came to be the perfect human representative who would willingly identify Himself with sinners. 

3. Jesus publicly entered into humanity's plight by way of His baptism and privately communicated His entryway to His disciples by way of celebrating His final meal with them
In Luke 3:21 states - "Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened."  Jesus' baptism in Luke is presented as Him entering further and further into the stream of human experience.  The other Gospels indicate He got baptized in order to demonstrate His ability to be the standard of righteousness needed to be received by faith.  Later on at the end of Luke's account in Luke 22, we see Jesus expressing in Luke 22:15 "And He said to them, “'I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."  In both His baptism and institution of the Lord's table, Jesus is expressing His identification with the pain and plight of those whom He came to redeem.

4. Jesus came to minister healing and deliverance to those in need.  Luke 4:18-19
At the onset of His public ministry, Jesus said these words in Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”  Undoubtedly Jesus' chief aim was to provide salvation by His death on the cross, burial and resurrection.  But Jesus also came for a secondary purpose, to deal with the effects of sin - namely in healing diseases and setting free those captive to the forces of darkness.  35 miracles were recorded in the four Gospels, 20 of which we see in Luke's narrative.  Jesus not only entered into humanity's pain, but He also chose to confront it head-on.

5. Jesus did the ultimate act of entering into our pain by going to the cross .  Luke 9:51 and 19:28
Jesus had an unflinching resolve in Luke as He made the journey to Jerusalem where He would be sentenced to die on the cross.  In Luke 9:51 we read - "When the days were approaching for His ascension, He as determined to go to Jerusalem."  Then later on in Luke 19:28 we read these words - "After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem."  From Luke 19-24 we see Jesus final week, going to cross to die, be buried and then raised three days later. 

My hope is that these passages will minister encouragement to the reader today.  Look to Jesus, who came to enter into humanity's pain. 

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