The Scripture reading does not seem like a "Christmas" portion of Scripture. We hope to make it clear why it is appropriate for our theme.
Similarities to Mark
Luke is probably a Gentile - the only Gentile writer of the New Testament. Like Mark, he wrote with Gentile readers in mind.
As Mark was companion to Peter, Luke was companion to Paul (Colossians 4:14; II Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24). Note: the narrative in Acts, also written by Luke, changes from the words "he" and "they" to "we" and "us." See Acts 16:10-17 cp. 20:4-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 - 28:16. Luke and Paul shared the task of reaching the non-Jewish world.
Like Mark, Luke quotes the Old Testament less than Matthew. He uses Greek terms more than Hebrew terms. When Luke refers to the Old Testament Scriptures, he often alludes to them, rather than quoting them. When Luke does quote the Old Testament, he quotes from the Greek translation (Septuagint).
Dissimilarities to Mark
Unlike Mark, Luke gives us a large amount of details. He is a scholarly and well-read author, writing with very good literary form. Luke is known as "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). As physicians are usually adept at analytical observation and retaining information, Luke seems to put those skills into use as he gives us a comprehensive history of the founding of Christianity, from Christ's birth to Paul's imprisonment in Rome (Gospel of Luke & Book of Acts). Legends abounded, but Luke interviewed eye-witnesses and researched his information (Luke 1:1-4), sometimes arranging his narrative in a different order than that of Matthew and Mark.
- Luke gives more details about Christ's birth than the other Gospels. See Luke 1:5 - 2:39.
- Luke tells us more about his childhood. See Luke 2:40-52.
- Luke gives us the genealogy of Christ through the line of Mary. See Luke 3:23-38.
- Luke emphasizes Christ's compassion to Gentiles, Samaritans, women, children, tax collectors, the poor, and other social outcasts - sinners in general. It's the Gospel for everybody. See Luke 2:10; 5:27-32; 7:31-50; 15:1-32; 19:10 (Key verse).
- Luke gives tremendous attention to Christ's mission to save sinners. He continually shows the significance of Christ going to the cross. Ten chapters are devoted to his last journey to Jerusalem, as He approaches His death on the cross. See Luke 9:18 - 19:48.
- Luke's Gospel is the Gospel of the "Son of Man." Both terms, "Son of God" and "Son of Man," refer to Christ's deity. The difference is that "Son of God" points to His authority and majesty - how he represents God to us. "The Son of Man" points to His compassion, mercy, and grace - how He represents us to God (I Timothy 2:5-6).
How did people respond to the birth of the Son of Man?
Weak Faith - Zacharias (Luke 1:5-25)
Strong Faith - Mary (Luke 1:26-38)
Joy and praise - (Luke 1:39-79)
- Baby John the Baptist (Luke 1:41)
- Elizabeth & Mary (Luke 1:39-56)
- Zacharias, family, and friends (Luke 1:57-79)
Preparation to serve - John the Baptist (Luke 1:80)
Business as usual (no time for this / no room for Him) - Most of the world. (Luke 2:1-7)
How does Luke 19:1-10 apply to the birth of the Son of Man?
Jesus didn't just come to Jericho. He came to see Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1, 5).
- Jesus didn't just come to the world.
- He came for sinners, just like you and me.
- See Luke 19:7; 7:34; I Timothy 1:15.
- Matthew (or Levi) had been in a similar situation (Luke 5:27-32).
Zacchaeus earnestly sought Jesus (Luke 19:2-4).
- Jesus came to us so that those who feel their need could seek Him.
- See Luke 19:5-6; Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37-45.
When Jesus came to Zacchaeus it changed Zacchaeus' life (Luke 19:8).
- Jesus came to set us free from sin; to make us new creations - made in His image.
- See John 8:12, 30-32, 36; II Corinthians 5:17 cp. Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 2:10.
Jesus declared Zacchaeus to be a son of Abraham (Luke 19:9).
- A mere physical descendant, now he was a member of Abraham's spiritual heritage.
- We are all made children of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ.
- We are saved by faith, not by works.
- See Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:28-29; Ephesians 2:8-10.
Jesus wants to be known as one who came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
- See Matthew 1:21; 18:11-14 cp. Luke 15:1-32.