We are going to be trying something completely different this year. Lent is a season in the church where we are encouraged to commit ourselves more intentionally to spiritual disciplines, like prayer and Bible study. To help provide a way to do that this year, we are offering a Sermon+ Bible study. The way this works is each week, we will have a supplemental Bible study sheet to take with you. These Bible study sheets will follow up with the sermon and will contain additional information about the scripture, reflection questions for you to consider, and guided prayers to use. If you miss a Sunday or wish to go back over the message we will also be posting a weekly video with the Bible study sheet on our website and Facebook page.
During the church season of Lent, we are going to be focusing on the gospel of Luke. Each Sunday we will focus on some of the high points and teachings of Jesus that are present in Luke’s gospel. The hope and prayer is that this Sermon+ Bible study will help you more fully engage with the scripture and grow to a deeper discipleship this Lenten season. With that in mind, I want to give some background on Luke’s gospel as well as themes that common in the gospel.
The gospel of Luke’s gospel does not identify themselves. However, the gospel and Acts were written by the same person. Strong literary evidence and church tradition is what has led the gospel being associated with Luke as the author. Luke is one of the synoptic gospels which means it has similarities with the gospels of Matthew and Mark. Even though there are similarities, Luke puts a different emphasis in several areas and there are some major themes that can be seen in Luke. First, Luke’s gospel is the most concerned with non-Jewish people. The gospel of Luke puts a great emphasis on the fact that Jesus is not just the Jewish messiah, but the savior of all people and the entire world. The gospel of Luke also seems to have a special care for the poor and focuses on meeting physical needs of people, and not just spiritual needs. These elements combine to make Luke an especially vibrant gospel to study. Luke tells the story of Jesus that as a non-Jewish audience, we naturally find affinity with, and the emphasis on meeting real world needs serves as an inspiration for our actions today.
While we will focus on specific scriptures each week, I strongly encourage you to read the entire gospel. Lent is six weeks long and Luke is 24 chapters, so the gospel can be read at a leisurely pace of four chapters a week. I do hope you consider joining in on a more in-depth exploration of the gospel of Luke as part of our Sermon+ Bible study, and you make doing so part of you plan to observe a Holy Lent.