Bible Review 11:1, February 1995

Where God Can Be Found: The Radical Message of Jesus’ Death

In Luke’s Gospel, the poor, those who weep, and those who are hated and excluded are called heirs to the Kingdom.

By Helmut Koester

Bible Review

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus’ death appears as a tragedy, the final victory of Satan over the messenger of the coming kingdom of God. One would think that the Gospel should have a different and more positive conclusion because its story began in such a promising way. Jesus’ birth was announced by an angel as the coming of “the Son of the Most High,” to whom “the Lord will give the throne of his ancestor David” (Luke 1:32), and at his birth the angel appeared once more to proclaim: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Satan, the enemy of God, did not seem to be a problem.

To be sure, the devil appeared to Jesus in the wilderness and tempted him (Luke 4:1–12), but Jesus passed the test and “the devil departed from him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). Throughout his ministry in Galilee and Judea, Jesus is victorious over the powers of Satan, driving out demons and healing the sick, and preaches the gospel freely. When he enters Jerusalem, the crowds hail him: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38).

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