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The Portrait of Jesus in Luke's Gospel

In his book, In Quest of Jesus, Barnes (1999) characterizes Jesus as the dying Savior, the monk or the troublemaker. According to the book, the gospel of Luke portrays Jesus as the savior of the world as he writes that salvation comes with Jesus. Luke chapter two verses twenty nine to thirty give a picture of what of his portrayal. Luke addresses God and requests him to release his servant, Jesus in peace for his eyes have seen the salvation. According to Luke, Simeon sees the salvation of God after seeing Jesus. Some quotations from Isaiah by Luke also portray Jesus as salvation. In Luke chapter three verses four to six, John the Baptist voice calls from the desert and urges the crowds to prepare the way for Jesus. He tells people to straighten their ways when Jesus approaches for all shall see the salvation.

According to the gospel of Luke, John the Baptist acts as the forerunner as he comes ahead of Jesus. His purpose is to prepare the way for all humankind to see the salvation of God when Jesus comes. This means that Jesus himself is the salvation. This is conceived later through the existence, death, resurrection and reappearance of Jesus to his disciples. Luke gives a text from Isaiah that provides the campaign on which Jesus offers the salvation. According to Luke Jesus’ life brings salvation to humankind through his body and his actions. He once reads a scroll in the synagogue that the spirit of God was with him and he has been anointed by God to bring the good news to the poor. He continues to state that he has brought the salvation to the people by freeing the prisoners, healing the sick and bringing liberty to the oppressed (Barnes, 1999).

In Luke’s portrait of Jesus, the deprived are those who see the good news; the prisoners eventually feels what the freedom of salvation is like; the blind see salvation and the oppressed experience the year of celebration. This, according to Barnes (1999) is the fresh era in God’s redemptive history where a demoralized and oppressed person gets salvation. According to the gospel of Luke the deliverance started at the arrival of Jesus and is characterized by a Great Reversal that is the mission of Jesus. According to Luke chapter two verse thirty four, Jesus was in deed destined to bring a fall and a rise of many people in Israel. This means God’s salvation comes in the presence of Jesus and will be bestowed to those marginalized by the religious authorities. It is seen in the gospel according to Luke chapter five how Jesus scandalizes the religious authorities as he announces forgiveness of a paralytic person by God. In verse twenty one, the Pharisees and teachers of the law dislike him as he speaks blasphemy and forgive sins, which only God can forgive (Barnes, 1999).

The gospel of Luke also portrays Jesus as the Son of Man which means the human divine One. The expression Son of Man is paramount all through the book of Luke. Chapter nineteen verses ten says that the Son of Man has come to look for and to salvage everything that was lost. This portrays salvation as the theme of the gospel. Luke narrates some events that demonstrate the human attributes of Jesus and actually emphasizes this by tracing Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam. To enhance his purpose Luke shields, or downplays, Jesus' deity or kingship (1:32-35). The first chapters of the book also contain the delivery and infancy stories of Jesus. His baptism, family tree, and temptation are covered in chapter three (Barnes, 1999).

The gospel according to Luke has some similarities and differences when compared to other gospels. In general three varying perspectives of the same story of the Jesus can be conceptualized. Mark represents him as the imminent King while both Matthew and Luke have the same miraculous story of conception and he is therefore depicted as the Son of God. The gospel according to John declared him to be God himself. It is important to note that generally, Luke emphasizes the fact that Jesus was the redeemer of all mankind throughout the gospel.

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