The Distinctive Emphases of Luke
Luke’s Gospel has been a subject of biblical criticism due to its distinctive emphases. Luke’s Gospel is similar to the book of Acts. The description of Jesus’ life is started in Luke and continued in the book of Acts. Luke’s Gospel is therefore the canon of the New Testament (Bart, Followers Of Jesus 256). The theological emphasis on the Gospel of Luke is similar to the other synoptic gospels. The Gospel according to Luke is different from the other gospels due to the emphasis Luke gave to its themes. The themes in Luke’s Gospel have been emphasized more than in any synoptic gospel. The main themes of Luke’s gospel include Jesus as the savior for all, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and praise.
Jesus as the savior for all
Luke refers to Jesus as the Savior. The name Jesus means savior. Regarding the birth of Jesus, the Gospel of Luke states that the shepherds were informed that a Savior had been born in the city of David. The Gospel goes on to say that salvation has come to the house of Zacchaeus. Jesus had visited Zacchaeus who was a dishonest tax collector. This clearly shows that Jesus was the savior, and with him came salvation to the house of Zacchaeus. In the book of Luke, it is claimed that a son of Man arrived to seek and save the lost. This son of man was Jesus. The book further states that Jesus is the only Messiah of the Old Testament. However, all people will see the salvation of God. This infers that Jesus was the savior of all people (Bart, Followers Of Jesus 102).
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is given a lot of emphasis in the Gospel of Luke. In the scripts, the Gospel says that people will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, Jesus Christ was born; the Gospel claims that the spirit that had been quenched even in the Old Testament had been born again. This was the Holy Spirit. The book gives more emphasis to the Holy Spirit when it claims that the Holy Spirit filled the family of John, Simeon, and Mary. The dove is frequently used as the symbol for the Holy Spirit. For example, during the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, a dove came down as a sign of the Holy Spirit. Another emphasis on the Holy Spirit is when Jesus was tempted by Satan. The Gospel says that Jesus was filled with the Holy spirit during and after the temptation.
Prayer and praise
Throughout the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was at prayer. More emphasis is given to prayer because Jesus used prayers in everything he did. Luke shows that during baptism, the dove came down when Jesus was in prayer in the wilderness. Other instances where prayer is emphasized in Luke’s Gospel are during the transfiguration, before he predicted his death, at Peter’s confession, before teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, at Gethsemane, and on the cross. There are ten accounts of prayer in the synoptic gospels. However, eight of the instances are claimed by Luke (Bart, Scripture 318). This clearly shows how Luke gave prayer more emphasis. Praise is a characteristic of prayers according to Luke’s Gospel, for example, the magnificent prayer by Mary, praising God and blessing God.
The Differences Between the Gospel of John and the Synoptics
The first difference is the omission and inclusion of some material either found or not found in the Synoptics. The major important stories missing in John’s Gospel are the temptation of Jesus Christ, the Transfiguration, and the Lord’s Supper. The parables that Jesus taught are not found in the book of John. Information regarding Jesus’ Early Ministry in Galilee is found in John’s Gospel, but not in the Synoptics. John gives an account of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem before the Passion Week which is not covered in the Synoptics. Other inclusions by John include the seventh sign-miracle, the resurrection of Lazarus. and the extended Farewell Discourse.
There is a big difference about how John’s Gospel and the Synoptic report about the length of Jesus’ public ministry. John reports that Jesus used about 3-4 years while the Synoptics claim that he used at least one year (Bart, New Testament 267). John shows that Jesus made several journeys between Galilee and Jerusalem while the Synoptics claim that Jesus made his way to Jerusalem once.
The style John used to write is not the same as in the Synoptics. The synoptic gospels are written in the third person narration with a lot of description while John reports based on a more reflective point of view. John was an eyewitness of Jesus’ life, and it is expected that he should report according to how he saw it. However, he presents the life of Jesus how he sees it and not the way he observed it. This makes John’s gospel more reflective than the Synoptics. Another major difference is how John puts less emphasis on the kingdom of God and eternal life, as compared to the Synoptics.
Bart, Ehrman. A Brief Introduction to the New Testament, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
—. Lost Christianities, The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.
—. Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene: The Followers Of Jesus In History And Legend, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.