Part 5—Luke: Negotiating the Roman Empire



The apostles Peter and Paul have been executed by the Roman Empire, and James was stoned to death by the priestly authorities in Jerusalem. Nero burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians, and followers of Jesus can no longer look to the synagogues for shelter. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  The Book of Revelation was written, in part, to comfort Jesus followers in times of great stress as persecutions were popping up over the Empire. Luke writes to assure the Roman authorities that Christians are no threat to the Empire, but are actually good citizens who engage in great acts of charity.  Yet, a discerning reader will also pick up on how, in a non-revolutionary way, the beginnings of the movement that would eventually overcome the Empire. Luke’s Jesus is very much the prototypical Greek who is idealized as the model of humanity.  To follow Jesus leads to the highest expression of life lived for God.



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