Luke Study Wrap-Up: Themes Given Special Emphasis in the Gospel According to Luke

1. God’s Plan of Salvation is Being Fulfilled in Christ

a) Lk 1:54-55, 68-79, 2:29-32 – the hymns in the infancy account by Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon

(e.g. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…” Lk 1:68-69)

b) Lk 4:18-30 – Jesus’ declaration in the synagogue – “the Spirit of the LORD is on me…” “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

c) The Greek word that is translated either “must” or “it is necessary” is used constantly by Luke to describe what Jesus has to do to fulfill God’s mission:

- Jesus has to be in His Father’s house (Lk 2:49)
- He has to preach the good news of the kingdom in many cities (4:43)
- As a prophet, He must die in Jerusalem (13:33)
- He must suffer and then die on a cross (9:22, 17:25, 23:37, 24:7)
- He must rise from death (24:44-47)

2. Salvation Is Emphasized as The Center Of God's Plan In Christ

a) Luke is the only synoptic gospel account writer to use the noun “salvation” (8 times), and He uses the verb “save” more than any other N.T. book (though this is due in part to the sheer length of Luke’s account)

b) A lot of emphasis is given on Christ’s forgiveness of sin (1:77, 5:17-26, 7:48-50, 24:46-47)

c) and Luke alone has this key statement from Christ concerning His mission: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk 19:10)

3. Gentiles As Recipients Of Salvation

a) implied in Luke’s genealogy (Lk 3:23-38), which goes all the way back to Adam
b) in a rebuke to Nazareth’s townspeople, Jesus speaks of God’s mercy to the widow in Zarephath, and Naaman the Syrian (Lk 4:24-27)
c) Jesus acknowledges a centurion as having a faith greater than anyone in Israel (7:1-10)
d) Luke makes a Samaritan “the hero” – in one instance, through the famous parable (10:30-37) and in the other, through the re-telling of those whom Christ healed of leprosy – with only the Samaritan returning to give thanks (17:11-16)
e) much more about the inclusion of Gentiles is spoken of, of course, in Luke’s “sequel” to his gospel account – the Acts of the Apostles (e.g., Acts 10; 28:25-29)

4. Outcasts Of Society As Recipients Of Salvation, And Special Objects Of Christ's Compassion

Constantly throughout Luke’s account, we see Jesus reaching out to the marginalized of society:

a) to the poor – 1:46-55; 4:18; 6:20-23; 7:22; 10:21, 22; 14:13, 21-24; 16:19-31; 21:1-4
b) “sinners” (i.e. anyone who didn’t conform to all of the Pharisees’ laws): 5:27-32; 7:28-50; 15:1-2; 19:7
c) women (not typically given the dignity to even be spoken to at that time – Jn 4:27): Lk 7:36-50; 8:1-3, 48; 10:38-42; 13:10-17; 24:1-12
d) tax collectors (despised especially at that time): Lk 3:12; 5:27; 7:29; 15:1; 18:10-13; 19:2

…and He desires His disciples to give priority in their ministry to the marginalized as well (Lk 14:12-14)

5. "Counting The Cost" As Christ's Will For His Disciples

a) “if anyone would come after me…” – 9:23-27
b) there is no looking back – 9:57-62
c) “if anyone comes to me and does not hate…” – 14:25-27
d) the necessity to estimate the cost (Jesus’ two illustrations) – 14:28-33

6. Prayer As Christ's Will For His Disciples

a) Exemplified the importance of prayer in his own person – 3:21-22; 6:12; 9:18; 9:28-29; 22:32
b) Jesus gives His disciples specific instruction, and encouragement, on prayer – Lk 11:1-11; 18:1-8; 22:40, 46

7. Watchfulness Against The Danger Of Riches, And Embracing Good Stewardship, As Christ's Will For His Disciples

a) “woe to you who are rich…well-fed…” (6:23-24)
b) the seed that falls upon the thorns is “choked by life’ worries, riches and pleasures” (8:14)
c) the parable of the rich fool (12:13-21)
d) “whoever can be trusted with very little….”; “no one can serve two masters” (16:10-13)
e) the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31)
f) Jesus’ words about the widow – giving out of one’s wealth vs. giving out of one’s poverty (21:3-4)
g) “Sell your possessions….provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out” (12:33-34)
h) “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves” (16:9)

8. Watchfulness For His Return As Christ's Will For His Disciples

a) “"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet…..” (12:35-40)
b) “Who then is the faithful and wise manager…?” (12:42-48)
c) “For the Son of Man in His day will be like the lightning…” (17:20-37)
d) the parable of the ten minas – the importance of being faithful with what you’ve been entrusted (19:11-27)
e) Jesus tell His disciples of the signs marking the end of the age (21:5-38)


D.A. Carson and Douglas Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament: Second Edition. Zondervan: 2005, pp. 219-221.

John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible. Word: 1997, p. 1505.

The ESV Study Bible. Crossway: 2008, p. 1938.