Today we take a look at the Lukan disciple. It is important to remember a few things about the gospel of Luke. First it has been called the loveliest book of the world. When asked to make a recommendation for a book on how to live a Christ-like life, one theologian responded, “Have you tried the book of Luke” (Barclay). We have a pretty good idea that Luke was written mainly for gentiles, those who were outside the Jewish tradition and not Jewish converts. One indicator of this is the fact that when the author of Luke traced the lineage of Jesus, it was traced not to Abraham, the founder of the Jewish race, as Matthew does, but to Adam, the founder of the human race. Because of this, it is often said that the gospel of Luke then is the universal gospel. More than any other gospel, Luke highlights the encounters of Jesus and those considered unclean, unworthy; the outsider, the poor, and the lost. He tells us that “people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at the table in the kingdom of God (13:29). Above all, Luke shows Jesus as the friend of outcasts and sinners. Luke’s Jesus is for everyone. (Barclay)
For the Lukan disciple, living out the gospel is about people. The discipleship journey is focused on the relationships they build and maintain and not necessarily attendance and programs. They are defined by the Greatest Commandment: love God and love people. It may be tempting to say that Lukans focus on people over the mission of spreading the good news of Jesus, however, it is more accurate to say that people ARE the mission of the good news of Jesus.
These are our process-oriented people. The “how does that make you feel” people. The “where do you see God,” “What do you need to tell God today,” and “What do you need to hear from God today” people. Their approach to discipleship is rooted in fellowship; getting to know others who are on the path of faith and walk alongside them on the journey; encouraging, challenging, growing and caring together. They serve by listening, being available, gathering, creating safe places for people to be heard, accepted, and seen; a space that allows for transformation.
Who was it that made you feel heard when you had questions or struggles? Who showed you what following Jesus really looked like? Who assured you that you were not alone in your pain, not crazy for thinking or feeling the way you were, and not so far lost that God couldn’t find you? Who empowered you? Gave you a chance? Who celebrated even the smallest of victories? Who gave you space to find your way? Who showed you God was bigger than what other people told you, held you to, or that you yourself imagined God could be? Who stayed with you through the most difficult time of life assuring you God was there?
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” Lukan disciples create the kind of ripples that last. A Lukan church casts things like hope, comfort, hospitality, support, acceptance, and service into a community and be a part of ripple making servants. A ripple that started in my life has reached the life of Grace church, and by God’s grace that ripple will go on to reach someone else through your life, and then another and another and together we do life.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine