Even as the author of Luke’s gospel shows us the countless ways that Jesus and his earthly family are quintessentially “Jewish,” he also shows us that Jesus had come not solely for the Jews but also the rest of the Gentile world.
Eight days after his birth, Jesus’ parents bring him to be circumcised, something that distinguished the Jews from all others. Yet even as Jesus is placed squarely in the rituals of Judaism, Simon, another Jew, beyond reproach, prophesizes over the baby.
“You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.
It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and a glory for your people Israel.” Luke 2:31-32 CEB
Luke’s Jesus is Jewish through and through and also going to be a conduit of God to the Gentiles. Luke places Jesus at a crux between the distinctive and the malleable. Jesus is both Jew and beyond Judaism.
Why this need to put Jesus rooted in Judaism but also open to those beyond its borders? Because the movement Jesus began moved to a more open rendering of the community boundaries as it grew and expanded beyond Palestine.
We take for granted the Jesus movement going into Gentile areas but at its insemination, it was considered a “Jewish” movement that went beyond its tribal, cultural and social boundaries.
Dear Lord, we take for granted Your presence in our lives. Yet there are some who do not know You. Help us to spread Your gospel long and wide throughout the earth as you intended it should be. Amen.