I mentioned in an earlier post that Luke rarely draws attention to the saving significance of Jesus' death. While there are a couple passages in which Luke indicates his awareness of the idea (esp. Luke 22:19-20; Acts 20:28), most scholars agree that Luke doesn't develop them, but chooses instead to focus in Acts on the saving significance of his resurrection and exaltation to God's right hand. Take, for instance, the following passages where Jesus' death is presented as a divine necessity but where his resurrection and exaltation receive more emphasis:
- "Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear....Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:33, 38).
- "It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10-12).
- See also 10:38-43; 13:26-39; 17:30-31; 26:1-23.
Before Jesus begins his public ministry, he is associated with salvation: The stage is set in Luke 2:30 when Simeon says "my eyes have seen your salvation" echoing Isa 49:6, and in the quotation from Isa 40:3-5: John is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord.'" As a result of his ministry and the Lord's coming "'all flesh shall see the salvation of God'" (Luke 3:6).
And according to Luke, Jesus brought salvation already during his earthly ministry:
- Jesus defines his mission as proclaiming "release (=forgiveness) to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind" (Luke 4:18; quoting Isa 61:1). Jesus' commission to proclaim "release" is applied to the forgiveness of sins in Luke 5:20-4 and 7:47-9. (In the passages from Acts quoted above, salvation is closely identified with forgiveness.)
- In Luke 6:9, Jesus says: "I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?"
- Jesus responds to questions about the forgiveness of sins by saying to the "sinful woman": "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 7:50).
- Jesus tells the woman with a flow of blood: "Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 8:48). (Most English translations read: "your faith has made you well," but the phrase is identical to 7:50.)
- Jesus tells the one grateful ex-leper: "your faith has saved you" (Luke 17:19). All the lepers were made well; only one was saved.
- And Jesus announces at Zacchaeus's party: "Today salvation has come to this house" (Luke 19:9; cf. the "today" in 4:21).
P.S. Sorry. No pictures.