Introduction to Luke
The Gospel of Luke proclaims Jesus as the king who is coming into the world. Appointed by God, his rule will put right everything that has gone wrong following the rebellion and fall of humanity that began with Adam and Eve. At present, much of the world is governed by rebels against God’s authority. Yet this world is God’s kingdom nonetheless, and the stuff of daily life — including work — is the stuff of God’s kingdom. God cares very deeply about the governance, productivity, justice, and culture of his world.
Jesus is both the king and model for all those who hold lesser authority. Although Christians are familiar with referring to Jesus as “king,” somehow for many of us this title has come to seem primarily religious, rather than referring to an actual kingdom. We say that Jesus is the king, but we often mean that he is the king of the priests. We think of him as the founder of a religion, but Luke demonstrates that he is the re-founder of a realm — the kingdom of God on earth. When Jesus is personally present, even Satan and his minions acknowledge his rule (e.g., Luke 8:32) and his power is unchallengeable. After he returns, temporarily, to heaven, his model shows the citizens of his kingdom how to exercise authority and power in his stead.
Jesus’ leadership extends to every aspect of life, including work. It is no surprise then, that Luke’s Gospel has wide application to work. Luke pays deep attention to work-related topics such as wealth and power, economics, government, conflict, leadership, productivity and provision, and investment, as we will discuss. We will proceed roughly in the order of Luke’s text, although occasionally taking passages out of order so we can consider them in a unit with other passages sharing the same theme. We will not attempt to discuss the passages that contribute little to an understanding of work, workers, and workplaces. It may prove surprising how much of Luke’s Gospel turns out to be related to work.