Luke’s Gospel uniquely portrays Jesus for His humanity. Luke does this in his writings by (1) emphasizing the completeness of God’s plan encompassing the human life of Jesus – from his miraculous birth to his tortuous death and wondrous resurrection; (2) presenting God’s plan of salvation for humankind; (3) explaining that God’s plan includes the most human of all – Gentiles; and (4) describing Jesus concern for the outcasts of society in his interactions and teachings.
In describing the completeness of God’s plan, Luke provides almost a step-by-step explanation of the pieces that must be in place for the plan to be fulfilled. Included in this plan is the humanity experienced by Jesus – physical birth, and later hunger, thirst, exhaustion; emotions that include revulsion, compassion, empathy and sympathy; and ultimately a declaration explaining the reason for it all. As our textbook authors’ wrote, “As Jesus summarizes in a climatic assertion at the end of the gospel” Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses . . ..” (24:44)
By explaining God’s plan, Luke is able to explain salvation for the world. In Luke 19:10, Jesus is quoted as saying “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” In the nine verses that proceed this, we read the story of Jesus in the home of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector. In this most human of encounters, in the intimacy of a person’s home, “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house . . ..” (19:9) Throughout the entire book of Luke, Jesus places himself with and before humankind. He doesn’t separate himself. Rather he is teaching and bringing salvation directly to those whom God has intended the gift.
While Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham, Jesus did not limit his gift to Abraham’s chosen descendants. We see Jesus commending and extending his grace to Gentiles such as a Roman centurion. In Luke 7:1-10, we read of the interaction between Jesus and the centurion asking for Jesus to heal his aide. In verse 9,” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." We also see Jesus extending his humanness in his parable teachings such as making a despised Samaritan a hero in perhaps one of the most famous parables (Luke 10:30-37).
We of course, love Jesus for his love for us. Luke writes in detail of how Jesus ministered, healed, interacted with the most human of us all – the poor, sinners, fallen women. One parable found only in Luke (16:19-31) is that of the rich man and Lazarus. In life, the rich man couldn’t bring himself to care of Lazarus. In death, the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to give him comfort from hell’s fire. Jesus teaching is clear: we have a human duty to care for our fellow humans -- we’ve been warned.