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NT IN 40 DAYS - DAY 28 Saturday MARCH 25: LUKE 1-6

NT IN 40 DAYS - DAY 28 SATURDAY MARCH 25: LUKE 7-11

• When and Where

As I said earlier, I am intrigued by but not entirely sold on this late dating for Luke/Acts. Borg says the growing movement for this later date has several foundations.

One, some scholars argue that Luke knew the works of a Jewish historian named Josephus who wrote in the 90s. More importantly for Borg, he says to consider the language about “the Jews” and the synagogues here. They are almost generic terms, but the style lacks the anger and divisiveness found in Matthew and John. This suggests the split between Judaism and what is now Christianity was nearly complete and something to be looked back on as a given rather than fiercely debated. Whereas Matthew and John were engaged in a struggle to define post-Temple faith – Luke/Acts sets out to chronicle the birth and spread of a new faith tradition, one now essentially separate from the Judaism of its earliest figures.

Intriguing, but not clear cut – it may be that the Lukan community was simply ready to move on sooner than Matthew and John’s, just as people are at different points on our various debates in modern times – but it’s worth pondering. What is taken for granted in each book of the Bible? What do we take for granted? What lenses do we bring and are we conscious of them? Ultimately the exact dating is not crucial – rather it is the intentional act of the church councils to keep these 4 Gospels and invite us to hear how they each proclaim Christ’s messiahship with slightly different emphasis and focus. We do not need to harmonize them – rather we need to “have ears to hear” each of their unique insights. This, again, is why I like Borg’s order for this study – revisiting a Gospel and looking at how the tradition grew and changed after reading Paul and Revelation is most helpful. While all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (we’ll read the letter of 1st Peter this line comes from in our last week of the challenge) – no single scripture is the final word – rather all of it invites us deeper into relationship with Christ, who is the Word, made flesh, crucified, and yet risen!

• Key Insights

Wesley Study Bible – Life Application Topic: Faith

“The church can spend a lot of energy trying to figure out who is in the kingdom and who is out. Interestingly, the boundary lines seem to form around those who believe the same way we do! Jesus offers us some surprises about faith. The centurion is not even of the household of Israel, yet Jesus celebrates his faith (7: 9). Is it possible that faith can be in unexpected persons? Jesus sees faith not as a matter of accepting certain doctrinal teachings, but as trust that God can bring transformation (7: 6). In the Wesleyan tradition, the journey of faith includes an expectation of transformation, change, and holy living.”

• Big Picture

An example of the joy that permeates this Gospel – only Luke writes about the birth of John the Baptist and the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth is poignant. When and how do we leap for joy when encountering the good news of the Gospel? Do we share the good news in ways that cause other’s to leap for joy?

**Wesleyan Core Term: Caring for Neighbor

“Caring for neighbor goes hand in hand with loving God. We don’t have to choose between feeding on Scripture and feeding the hungry, between reaching out to God and reaching out to those in need. The Christian walk requires both works of mercy and works of piety. Who is our neighbor? According to Wesley, our neighbor is anyone who needs our help, not just the person already part of our group. Wesley was especially concerned that we care for those we might not initially think of as neighbors, those beyond our immediate neighborhood, and people of different faiths or ethnic backgrounds. Most of all, caring for neighbors means not passing by the neediest and vulnerable, the hungry, injured, or hurting. Wesleyans believe God has bound together all people—no matter how different—by creating each of us in God's image. God has already made us all neighbors, so we can expand our hearts to care for neighbors down the street and around the world.”

Blessings on your reading!

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