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New Testament

Luke's Gospel


The inaugural discourse at the Nazareth synagogue sees Jesus using the words of the prophet Isaiah to announce his identity and proclaim his mission. The Spirit of God, often symbolised by a breeze, accompanies Jesus as he approaches the synagogue of his native place to announce that the word of God fulfilled in their hearing. Will the seed of the word lodge in their hearts? Will it lodge in ours?

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

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A brief word about the Gospels
The gospels themselves are inspired interpretations of the meaning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ arising from the earliest experiences of believers in Jesus Christ. Through all ages of the Church they stand as documents which Christians will read, study, pray over and apply to their own lives and situations, and through which God will speak to them. As such they are rightly called ‘the Word of God’. As foundational documents of the Church they also stand as a reference point against which Christians may judge the authenticity of their lives as Christians and the extent to which the Church is fulfilling its call.

The Gospel Introductions in RESource
The visual introductions to the gospels on RESource are brief interpretations
(not inspired) of each gospel presented to get you started on a closer study of each particular gospel.

• First of all you might like to consider the advantages and disadvantages of trying represent the gospels in images at all? (While Christianity has generally been at ease with the use of sacred images, Judaism and Islam avoid the use of images in conveying holy truths.)

• How do you feel about the cartoon technique used by the artists in this particular introduction. What is helpful what is distracting? In what way are they presenting stereotypical images? Is this how you yourself imagine Jesus, the disciples, First Century Palestine? What influences how we imagine these things?

• Consider your own image of Jesus. Could you easily convey this visually or in other way? Why or why not?

• Do the gospel introductions in RESource tend to suggest or reinforce the idea of Jesus as a ‘fantasy’ figure rather than as a ‘real’ figure? How close can we get to the ‘real’ Jesus?

• What about other representations of Jesus in art or film or even at the Sydney WYD Stations of the Cross. Which ones attract you? Which are less helpful for you? Can you explain why?

The RESource Introduction to the Gospel of Luke
The visual introduction to Luke’s gospel uses the reading from Isaiah ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me….’ that Jesus quotes during a service in the Synagogue at Nazareth at the beginning of his public ministry ( Luke 4:16-21) as a key to the interpretation of this Gospel. More references to the Holy Spirit are found in Luke than in Matthew and Mark combined hence the choice of this scene as a key to the Gospel.

• The presentation opens with seeds being blown through the air. Look up the three references to seed in Luke’s Gospel. What do seeds represent in each of these readings? What about the wind on which they are blown? What is being suggested here?

• What is the effect of the images of Jesus’ footsteps among the grasses and of his steady movement through the town and towards the synagogue? Was Jesus simply a ‘blow in’ to the Nazareth synagogue or was his coming purposeful?

• How are the synagogue and those who gather there presented? What emotion is conveyed by the artwork? How does it sit with your own inner picture of this gospel reading?

• Do you find the face of Jesus attractive or sinister? Should Jesus always be portrayed in an ‘attractive’ way? Explain why or why not. As a comparison look at these faces of Christ or the ones on Beliefnet referred to above. Identify the understanding of Jesus conveyed in different one.

• How would you graphically represent:
1. good news for the poor,
2. liberty for captives,
3. sight for the blind,
4. release for the oppressed,
5. the year of the Lord’s favour

When you complete your study of Luke, suggest other themes for a visual introduction.

Having viewed these introductory screens what are some of your expectations of Luke’s gospel