Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Did Jesus understand the Gospel? In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus gives some pretty serious warnings about a coming judgment (Luke 21), and yet He never asks anyone if they are sure that they would arrive in heaven when they die. In all 24 chapters of Luke’s Gospel, we never read a sermon about the priority of faith over “works” for salvation. Nor do we ever hear a sermon about the depravity of man. Did Jesus not know that these are the core issues of the Gospel? I am facetious, of course. The point I am making is that Jesus does not seem to have the same controlling narrative that we would expect for the things that He does and says. Jesus speaks as a first-century Jew. Jesus believes that He is appointed by God to bring Israel's long-winding story to its intended climax. When modern Westerners read the Bible, we are usually looking for it to give us the correct systematic theology for gaining entrance into heaven. Naturally, if we come to the text expecting it and wanting it to say something other than what it is designed to say, we will inevitably be left scratching our heads in confusion or pushing the scriptures into a hole that it doesn’t fit. Neither of these is good options for disciples of Christ, nor for those seeking to make disciples.