Either the Empire Saves, or the Saviour Saves: the Politics of the Gospel of Luke

Luke’s Gospel is a political challenge to the Roman Empire:

The angel declares to the shepherds that “a savior” is born (Lk 2:11) in the city of David, but theAugustus of Prima Porta unspoken fact is that a “saviour” is already enthroned in Rome-Caesar Augustus, whose monuments declare him “saviour of the world.” Against this backdrop the anticipation of a savior within Israel seems fraught with danger, as the pious figures we meet in Luke’s Gospel invoke OT promises of deliverance. Zechariah speaks of a “mighty saviour” and of being “saved from our enemies” (Lk 1:69, 71 NRSV). Simeon, who has been looking for the “consolation of Israel,” thanks God that he has lived to see God’s “salvation” (Lk 2:30) in the face of the infant Jesus. And the aged Anna rejoices over the child in the presence of all who are “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:38 NRSV). John the Baptist also speaks of a great judgment and renewal within Israel associated with the coming of the Lord. Luke summarizes John’s activity with the biblical image of preparing a highway for the divine warrior so that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6 NRSV; cf. Is 40:5 LXX).

Leland Ryken et al., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 441.

On the Affirmation of Scripture

With respect to the authority of Scripture, the greatest challenge facing Bible-believing churches today is not the disbelief aimed at the Bible from outside the faith; nor is it the attack against it from unbelieving theologians cloaked with Christian terminology.

The greatest challenge facing Christians are pulpits where the inerrant Word is wholeheartedly affirmed but routinely side-stepped and ignored. If your preacher is not preaching the text, he is not preaching the Bible, and functionally denies its authority. It does little for the church to affirm the authority of the Scriptures, if the church’s preachers are not shaped by it. If the preachers and elders of the church are not fed on the Word of God, with what do they feed the sheep entrusted to them?