As we continue reading through the New Testament as a church, we will reach the book of Luke in the month of March. Luke, more than the other gospel writers, tends to focus his book on the Jesus’ compassion for the outcasts of society. Prominent figures in many of the stories are Samaritans, Gentiles, tax collectors, sinners, women, and the poor...all of whom were heavily marginalized by society.
Therefore, from the beginning Luke emphasizes Jesus’ role as savior to these men and women in 2:11, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Jesus is the one who came not for the healthy but for the sick (5:31). And He is the Son of Man who, “…came to seek and save what was lost” (19:10). Again and again we see God’s compassion for the outcast of society, such that He sent Jesus to save them from being lost.
As we read these stories, we have a tendency to view them as a 3rd party bystander. In other words we are often the person watching the Father welcome home the prodigal son, watching Jesus heal the sick and the lame, and watching Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners,. With such a perspective, we see Jesus as a nice guy who dearly loves the men and women rejected by society.
What we fail to often see is that those stories are really about us and our relationship to God apart from Christ. In reality, we are the prodigal son who rejects the Father’s love, and instead lives a life of disobedience, only to have the Father lovingly welcome him home upon his return. We are the sick and the lame who need Jesus to restore our sight to what is good, to enable us to hear His truth, and to give us the ability to walk in His ways. We are the tax collectors and sinners who manipulate others and do not follow God’s laws, but yet are invited to share a meal with Jesus. In short, we are the outcasts of the kingdom of God, who are in need of a Savior.
Therefore, I invite you to first ask yourself the following question as you read Luke, “Is Jesus the Savior of my life?” Do you see yourself as a sinner in need of God’s grace and forgiveness?
If you do, and if Jesus is your Savior, then I encourage you to consider a second question, “What can I do to tell other outcasts that Jesus has come to save them?” If the good news of the gospel has taken root in our lives, then the overflow of that is a heart that expresses Christ’s compassion towards those who are lost. If Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, then His followers, filled with His love, are to also seek and save the lost by telling them about Jesus.
Maybe that involves offering grace and forgiveness to someone who has hurt you in the past. Maybe that involves offering physical care for someone who is sick or hurting. Or maybe that involves inviting someone in need of love over to your home for a meal. Luke’s gospel is filled with countless ways we can show Christ’s love, ultimately opening up doors to tell them about our Savior.
By the end of our time in Luke my prayer is that the Lord would remind all of us of what a great Savior we have in Jesus. But then, as this truth is driven deep into our hearts, we would also be reminded of our call to go tell others what a great Savior we have in Jesus.