The birth of Jesus is a hugely important event in the calendar of the church, and is widely celebrated around much of the world. The writer of Luke’s gospel devotes his first two chapters to this story. But the birth of a baby is the beginning—not the end—of Luke’s story. How could this infant, born to peasants in the backwater of Bethlehem, be “great joy for all the people… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11)?
Taking up where the birth narratives left off, we will begin to trace the meaning of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke. We will see how Jesus breaks into the scene of political and religious upheaval in the tradition of the ancient Hebrew prophets. And how, like the prophets before him, he is opposed and rejected. We will explore how Jesus, full of God’s Spirit, embodies the Divine Presence of love, acceptance and inclusion – for everyone! And we will consider the implications for our own lives of the revolutionary Kingdom he proclaimed.
Through this six-week study of the first half of the Gospel of Luke, we will accompany Jesus as he sets out on his ministry, beginning in the humble setting of his home region of Galilee, and ending in the religious and political power center of Jerusalem. As Jesus takes up his prophetic challenge of justice and mercy, and the call to create a community where everyone belongs, we will consider what it means to continue that journey as we ourselves embody the same Spirit of Jesus.