Who is Jesus? A study in the gospel of Luke          Week 3


I.  What did Jesus teach about God’s law? (Luke 10:25-37)

A.  The demands of God’s law

1.      When Jesus was asked what God demands of us, he always pointed back to God’s law as revealed in the Jewish Scriptures

2.       Jesus taught that all of God’s law could be summarized in two commandments from the book of Deuteronomy: “love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself”


B.  The background of the parable of the Good Samaritan

1.  A teacher of the law asked Jesus what we need to do to inherit eternal life

2.  The religious leaders’ question “who is my neighbor?” was prompted by a desire to justify, or vindicate, himself.


C.  The response of the characters in the parable

1.  The priest and the Levite were both respected religious figures. But the Samaritan was a foreigner, who would have been considered a heretic and an enemy by most 1st century Jewish people

2.  Both of the religious figures in the parable turn away from the wounded man

3.  The Samaritan has compassion on him and provides immediate medical assistance, transportation, short-term housing, and long-term financial care, all at his own expense


D.  Jesus’ use of the parable

1.  Jesus inverts the original question “who is my neighbor?” to “who was a neighbor to this man?”

2.  Jesus returns to the original topic of the discussion and tells us that this is what the law requires: to go and do likewise

3.  The only possible response to an honest consideration of God’s law is to recognize our moral bankruptcy and seek God’s mercy (see Luke 18:9-14)


II.  Why did Jesus die?  (Luke 22:14-20, 22:39-46; 23:26-46)


            A. At the Last Supper, Jesus taught that he was dying on our behalf

1.  The Passover meal was instituted in the Old Testament to symbolize the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt

2.  The Israelites were spared from death by sprinkling the blood of a lamb on their doorposts

3.  Jesus reinterpreted the bread and the wine of the Passover meal as symbolizing his own body and blood, broken and poured out for us

4.  Elsewhere in the NT, Jesus himself is referred to as the the lamb of God


            B.  Jesus faced not only physical death on the cross, but the experience of God’s wrath

1.  Jesus faced the prospect of the cross with terror and anguish

                        2.  He asked God to take ‘this cup’ away from him, but submitted to God’s will

3.  The cup in the Old Testament was usually symbolic of God’s wrath and judgment against sin and evil


            C.  Jesus’ death is the ultimate indication of the depth of our sin

1.  Jesus was mocked by everyone – the common people, the Jewish leaders, the Roman soldiers, even the other criminals who were crucified with him

2.  ‘If we do such things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”


            D.  Jesus’ death is the only and ultimate hope for sinners

1.  The thief on the cross recognizes that he deserves to die but that Jesus is innocent

                        2.  He asks Jesus to remember him when Jesus is vindicated

                        3.  Jesus promises that the thief will enter heaven with him


Suggested discussion questions:


1.  Why did Jesus have to die?  Couldn’t God just forgive us?

2.  I don’t like the idea of a wrathful God.  Isn’t God a God of love?