I just finished my first week of this new seminary school year, and I am tired and ready to start the weekend rest, so I am going to be brief in sharing a new revelation from my studies:
St. Luke writes his gospel to Theophilus, a Gentile believer who needs reassurance “of the things [he has] been taught” (Luke 1:1-4). This brings a remarkably unique account. I was amazed to recognize that while the text has a very Jewish essence–being deeply rooted in the Hebraic tradition and culture–it is also intentionally written with universal appeal. God has, from the beginning, desired the hearts of all nations, and Luke brings out that diversity without losing focus of the Jewish root of the Kingdom. It’s a fascinating paradigm.
This universal appeal is multifaceted, spanning gender, age, class, culture, and nationality. No one is left out. For example, John the Baptist was born in a miraculous birth coinciding with Jesus’ birth, but as a forerunner for Him. The parallels are immense, but among them is the obvious difference in class: John came from an important religious family who had the attention of the community, while Jesus was born humbly. Class and prominence are clearly not the indicators of spiritual worth. Also in the opening chapters of Luke, Simeon and Anna–an elderly man and an elderly woman–each recognized Jesus as Messiah when He visited the Temple as an infant, demonstrating that the Kingdom is also inclusive of both men and women. And the overall focus of Luke’s gospel is not on Jesus as a sacrificial offering (a natural continuation of Jewish thought), but on the movement of the Spirit, God’s ultimate plan of reconciliation for the world, and the Kingdom of God, which is a uniquely diverse, yet unified, collaboration of God’s children–both Jew and Gentile.
As one of my classmates pointed out, “same-ness is not the same as one-ness.” It’s important to encourage diversity, so that within our distinctions, the church can come together as the well-equipped, perfect, Body of Messiah.
It makes me excited to press forward with the goal to be my authentic self in all things.