Lukan Christological Emphasis in Luke 23:35–39

The Lukan Christological emphasis and teaching in this passage is apparent. In the space of five verses (23:35–39) Jesus is referred to as “the Christ of God, the Chosen One,” “the King of the Jews” (twice), and “the Christ.” While it is true that three “confessions” come from mockers and one from the Roman governor, Luke expected his readers to understand that they were correct because they confirmed the Christology that he had taught, i.e., that Jesus is the Christ (1:32–33; 2:11, 26; 4:41; 9:20), the King of the Jews (1:32–33; 19:38; cf. 2:4; 18:38–39). Thus, ironically enough, even Jesus’ mockers witnessed to who Jesus is. For Luke and his readers the political connotations of the title “Christ,” which caused Jesus to avoid its use in public, were no longer a problem. By then the nonrevolutionary nature of Jesus’ life and teachings and the behavior of his followers allowed the use of this title without fear of political misconceptions. A soteriological emphasis is also associated with the Christology of this account in that Jesus’ work as “Savior” is also mentioned. The saving nature of Jesus’ ministry is referred to four times in the space of five verses (23:35 [twice], 37, 39). Again, although the reference to Jesus’ saving activity came in the form of mockery from his opponents, Luke’s readers knew that Jesus is indeed the Savior because of Luke’s earlier teachings on the subject. Luke wanted his readers to know that Jesus of Nazareth even in his death, no especially in his death, was the promised Christ, the King of the Jews, and Savior of the world. [ Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke (Vol. 24, pp. 590–591). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.]

© 2014, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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