The Gospel of Luke (God's hearts for the poor and those in need)
Reading: Luke 10:25-37
Additional readings: Luke 7:1-10, Luke 12:16-21 Luke 15:11-32, Luke 16:19-31
Blanks: divided, servants, food, compassion, ran, robe, celebrate, pleaded, everything
Two weeks ago, we study how the gospel of Luke explained about the prayer life of Jesus.
Today we are going to study about the gospel of Luke from a different angle.
Have you read the gospel of Luke?
Who is the author of this gospel?
Luke was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts.
He was not a Jew.
But he knew the Old Testament very well.
Luke was probably from Antioch which was not far from Israel.
And Luke became the gentile who wrote the majority of New Testament.
Luke might have written this gospel and the book of Acts to release Paul from prison.
Luke might have written this book for Theophilus who might have been a defense lawyer or a judge for Paul’s case.
Maybe that is why in the book of Acts, we read the same testimony of Paul three times.
Anyway, Luke was a medical doctor and an educated person.
He was the one who risked his life to stayed with Paul when Paul was in his last prison: “Luke the beloved physician” Col 4: 14
Some said Luke might have martyred soon after Paul martyred.
Let’s think about how Luke wrote his gospel.
Even though he read about other gospels, he decided to research carefully to write about what really happened.
So he met eyewitnesses.
He asked questions and gathered information about who Jesus was.
In this way he wrote the Gospel of Luke.
When we read this gospel, we notice that Luke was very interested in helping the poor.
Luke was interested in how Jesus helped the poor and preached for the poor and those in need.
So today we're going to have a look at them in order one by one:
In Luke 1:46-55, we read what is known as Mary’s Song.
Here Mary the mother of Jesus said: Luke 1:52-53
"God has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”
Like this, from the start, Luke is saying that Jesus is for the poor.
In Luke 6:20-26, Jesus said something like this:
(we see a similar writing in Matthew chapters 5-7)
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of me, Jesus.
Rejoice in that day and jump for joy, because your reward is great in heaven, and because God’s prophets are supposed to be treated like that.”
In the gospel of Matthew we read:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
But in the gospel of Luke we read:
“Blessed are you who are poor.”
In the gospel of Matthew we read:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”
But in the gospel of Luke we read:
“Blessed are you who hunger now.”
Luke wrote this book when Christians might have been persecuted for living for Jesus.
So Luke reminds his readers that God blesses those who are poor, hungry, weep and persecuted
Then Luke said:
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”
Luke also believed that Jesus has come to bless the poor.
Luke understood that Jesus wanted to help the poor.
Luke believed that the gospel must be preached to the poor.
That is the will of God.
Luke is the only one who wrote this following story in Luke 10:25-37:
Someone asks Jesus:
“What must I do to have eternal life?”
“Love God and love neighbors.”
Then the person asks:
“Who is my neighbors?”
Jesus was like:
Show mercy to everyone:
To explain this, Jesus told this story. (Luke 10: 30, 33-37)
It is called the story of the Good Samaritan:
You know this story, right?
(1) There was a Jewish guy.
Some thieves came and beat him badly and left him unconscious.
When he was like this in need of help, some religious professionals came by but would not care for him.
Then, the “Samaritan” man came.
He helped this man.
He didn't know the man personally.
And he was busy.
But he stopped to save a life.
The Samaritan was kind and compassionate.
So he showed God’s compassion to the one in need.
Why does Jesus make a Samaritan the hero of this story?
What does a Samaritan mean in this story?
Samaritan represent a people group that we don’t like for whatever reasons.
It may be because they are religiously different or politically different.
They may be ethnically different or legally different.
Jesus was like:
“Look at this Good Samaritan.
He was good to a stranger who was religiously and socially different.
He was kind to him.
Love your neighbor like him.
Do good to those in need.
Help those in need, as God helps you.”
That is what God wanted to teach to Prophet Jonah concerning the people of Nineveh.
That is what Jesus wanted to teach Jewish people concerning Samaritans.
God created everyone and loves everyone.
God wants everyone to live and practice compassion.
This is God’s hope.
Then Luke told another story to encourage people to share their wealth in God’s way: Luke 12:16-21.
In the story Jesus said:
One person became very rich one day.
Then he became a victim of his greed.
Then he tried to use all his money only for his enjoyment and his retirement.
He even said to himself like this:
“Self, now, take it easy, eat, drink and be happy!”
But God was like:
“You are a steward of God’s wealth.
You need to use your money in God’s way.
God has given you this wealth so that you may live for God and for those in need.
Otherwise, God will find someone else who live for God and for God’s poor.”
Telling this story, Jesus may be saying:
“Be a good neighbor, as God.
Show compassion to everyone.”
Then in Luke 14:12-14, Jesus said this to his host who invited him for a meal:
"When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors.
If you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.
Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Jesus was like:
“Be a good neighbor to those in need.”
Luke was writing like this because the church of Jesus the Christ lives practicing compassion.
They helped the poor and those in need, as Jesus asked them to be kind to the poor and those in need.
So Luke was able to write like this.
Jesus was persuading people to be kind to those in need.
Jesus encourages people to help because God really loves them.
Luke is asking more people to be kind to the poor, because then they may experience God’s blessing.
Luke is asking them to use their wealth for God like this.
Then they will be blessed forever.
God is interested in the poor and helping them through his people.
God may use his church to do so.
Then only in Luke 15:11-32, we read the story of prodigal son:
In this story, the younger brother left home and lived a not-so-good life.
Then he became really poor.
He might have become a homeless.
The question was:
Should we welcome this kind of man?
What did his older brother say?
The older brother was really mad at him for wasting all those money.
The older brother didn’t want his younger brother anymore.
If this poor younger brother came back, he might have wanted to punish him because of his past sinful life.
But when this poor younger son came home, the father does not judge him or try to punish him.
Instead, the father welcomes him and forgives him.
This younger son wasted his life and his wealth, and became poor.
But the father welcomed him and loved him and forgave him.
The father celebrated the fact that his younger son came home.
Then this poor son became God’s child again and enjoy God’s wealth and God’s love.
God is like this father.
This father represents God who is also Jesus who is also compassion.
God wants his older son to live like God.
God asks his righteous son to live a good life like God.
God asks his older son to welcome the poor child, because he is now God’s child.
God asks his older son to share his wealth and take care of the poor child.
Then in Luke 16:19-31 Luke wrote a story that Jesus told concerning the poor.
It is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus:.
Do you remember the story?
Lazarus was poor but after his death, he went to heaven to be with Abraham.
The rich man was rich but after his death, he went to a place like a hell.
This story does not explain why Lazarus went to heaven to be with Abraham.
The only reason that we know is that Lazarus was poor.
This story does not explain why the rich went to a place like hell.
The only reason that we know is that he was rich.
It seems through this story Jesus was saying something like this to the rich:
“Remember to help the poor, God’s poor.
Then, God will bless you eternally.”
Compared to many people in this world, we are rich.
Many people don't even have religious freedom and social freedom.
Many people don’t even have some basic necessary.
We know that there are those who are poorer than us.
So Jesus may ask us to look after the poor and live a life of compassion.
God may ask us to support and send money to help them.
Jesus may ask us to pray for them.
Jesus may ask us to think about how to help those in need.
Jesus may let us know where to send our mission money.
God wants to help those in need.
God may help them through us.
So we allow God to use us.
We pray that God may be able to bless people through us.
Again Jesus does not ask us to do these things by our own power but to do these things in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.
When we follow God’s leading, we experience God’s power.
Then we may also experience even more abundant life.
Then we may be able to bless more people.
We want to help because God’s heart becomes our hearts.
We are thankful that we could use our donation for various mission projects and for those in need.
But we are also prayerfully searching for a right mission opportunity, because we want to use our resource well.
I believe Jesus would let us (not only me) know where to send money.
When we follow God’s leading, we may experience God’s blessing as well.
Jesus, thank you for teaching us about God who loves all people.
Teach us and guide us how to love and care for those in need, like you.
May we obey you and live like you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.