The Gospel of Luke is the gospel that portrays Jesus most clearly as Saviour. It is in this gospel that we find a Jesus of sensitivity and compassion. There is great gentleness, but there is nothing soft or easy-going about this Jesus. On the other hand, he does reflect the God who is, disconcertingly, the God of Sinners. The Lucan Jesus, who truly knows the Father, is wholly in the business of lifting the burden of sin - not of adding to it.
Luke believes that what Jesus did, said, and suffered had and has a significance for, and bearing on, human history. Luke does not seek to suppress the tragedy and mystery of the cross nor undervalue its saving role. He does not question the need for the disciple of Jesus to deny the self, to take up the cross, and follow the Master.
Luke has shown what may be made of Jesus deeds and words in a time after the era of Jesus. For us in the twentieth-first century, conscious of a gap of two millennia between the first proclamation of the Christian message and our striving to assimilate that message, Lukes preaching of the Good News may be more congenial than others.
Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, is a professor of New Testament at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has written numerous works, including What Are We Hoping For? New Testament Images, Why Do We Hope? Images in the Psalms, and Jesus Ben Sira of Jerusalem: A Biblical Guide to Living Wisely, all published by Liturgical Press. Harrington is editor of the Sacra Pagina series, for which he also authored The Gospel of Matthew and coauthored The Gospel of Mark.