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Lenten Reading Challenge Luke 7-11

• When and Where

Borg says “a slight majority still favor dating Luke/Acts to the 80’s.” On Monday we’ll look at why he is among those now dating this to the early 100’s.

We do not know who wrote these texts. As with the other Gospels, the name Luke became associated with it in the 2nd Century, referencing a travel companion of Paul from the 50’s. Scholars doubt, or are at least very uncertain, that the author was that Luke, however.

Scholars consider the central purpose of Acts, the 2nd of the two volumes, was not to provide a biography of Paul but to trace the ongoing expansion of the Jesus movement. Thus, they dismiss that Paul’s death is not mentioned by pointing out how focusing on it would defeat the purpose – the point isn’t Paul’s life – it’s the continued, growing witness of the community. To end both books with “and then they killed him” undermines the message and the focus on God revealed in Jesus and the Spirit.

• Key Insights

Wesley Study Bible – Life Application Topic: Faith

 “The church can spend a lot energy trying to figure out who is in the kingdom and who is out. Interestingly, the boundary lines seem to form around those who believe the same way we do! Jesus offers us some surprises about faith. The centurion is not even of the household of Israel, yet Jesus celebrates his faith (7: 9). Is it possible that faith can be in unexpected persons? Jesus sees faith not as a matter of accepting certain doctrinal teachings, but as trust that God can bring transformation (7: 6). In theWesleyan tradition, the journey of faith includes an expectation of transformation, change, and holy living.”

• Big Picture

An example of the joy that permeates this Gospel – only Luke writes about the birth of John the Baptist and the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth is poignant.

**Wesleyan Core Term: Caring for Neighbor

 “Caring for neighbor goes hand in hand with loving God. We don’t have to choose between feeding on Scripture and feeding the hungry, between reaching out to God and reaching out to those in need. The Christian walk requires both works of mercy and works of piety. Who is our neighbor? According to Wesley, our neighbor is anyone who needs our help, not just the person already part of our group. Wesley was especially concerned that we care for those we might not initially think of as neighbors, those beyond our immediate neighborhood, people of different faiths or ethnic backgrounds. Most of all, caring for neighbor means not passing by the most needy and vulnerable, the hungry, injured, or hurting. Wesleyans believe God has bound together all people—no matter how different—by creating each of us in Gods image. God has already made us all neighbors, so we can expand our hearts to care for neighbors down the street and around the world.”

Blessings on your reading!

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