Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Part II: Paul is a good Jew

I have been trying to understand why someone might write the Gospel of Luke early, say 41 CE, and then twenty years later write Acts of the Apostles as a continuation. I have suggested that Luke, in his second book, was trying to persuade Theophilus, the High Priest, that Paul is a good Jew.

Salvation to the Gentiles is announced in Luke 2:32 and alluded to in 3:5. Its proclamation is only appropriate after and as a consequence of Jesus’ mission to Israel. The priority of the proclamation to the Jews based upon Isa. 49:6 is unquestionable. Therefore the salvation for Gentiles does not recurs until the end of the Gospel in Luke 24:47.

Luke addressed his book to a Jewish audience that was resisting the on-going mission to the Jews and to the Jewish followers of Jesus who were resisting the mission to the Gentiles. Luke, in his second book, is concerned to pass on the message that the Gentile mission as part of Jesus’ mission was in fact transmitted to his disciples. Consequently Luke wrote Acts as a sequel to the Gospel after witnessing nearly twenty years of resistance to the mission. The genesis of the Gentile mission, as an addition to the mission to Israel and as the other part of Jesus’ mission, is told in the second part of Luke’s work. It is the resistance of the Jews and of the Jewish followers of Jesus that is the driving organizing force to the mission, that is to say, the resistance becomes the stimulus.

Theophilus is told how this resistance stimulated Paul to pursue his mission. More importantly, Theophilus is told that the prophets foretold what Paul is doing. Isaiah’s songs of the Servant proclaim both the restoration of the twelve tribes of Jacob and the salvation of the Gentiles. Thus Theophilus is told Paul is a good Jew.

Copyrighted 2005


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