In preparation for a series in Luke’s gospel this summer, I’ve been working several introductory works. I enjoyed Joel Green’s chapter in Reading Luke, and so I purchased a copy of his The Theology of the Gospel of Luke. Though his work is theologically weak at times, it’s a goldmine of intertextual insight, especially regarding Luke’s use of the Old Testament and the literary connections between Luke and Acts. Here’s a selection from early in the book.
“Luke’s Gospel draws on other texts, for Luke especially those of the Greek version of what we have come to call the Old Testament. By this form of intertextuality, he locates his narrative in those texts so as to allow the significance of the ‘old story’ to shed light on the present one, just as the story of Jesus, then, is allowed to interpret the story of Israel.
“What theological agenda might be served by the use of the Scriptures in this way? First, it is transparent that the rich interplay of scriptural texts within the story of Jesus roots that story in the authoritative story of Israel. … Second, this intertextuality reveals the oneness of God’s aim…. Third, the possibility of parody is introduced. … This is of major importance for Luke because of his belief that what is happening in and through Jesus is not only the unfolding but indeed the fulfillment of God’s design, witnessed in the Scriptures” (25-26).
Green consistently describes all of this as calling forth a decision, a response of faith on the part of the one hearing the good news of God’s purposes fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. The genre of Luke’s gospel is proclamation, kerygma, the announcement of the fulfillment of the story of Israel for the sake of the whole world.
“Finally, Luke’s unrelenting emphasis on the purpose of God is presented as an invitation. People within the narrative may embrace or reject the divine aim. Luke’s readers receive he same invitation” (48-49).