Luke's Gospel is thought to be written in the city of Antioch, Syria. Which had been one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. The city had contained a variety of cultures like the Jewish and the Gentiles along with the rich and the poor. In Luke's Gospel essentials and themes are mercy and forgiveness and it's seen through Jesus’ acceptance of all mankind including the marginalised and the outcast.
Outcasts in Jesus’ Time
In Jesus’ time women were considered outcasts in society as they were seen as second class citizens and were considered inferior to men. A woman's role was to stay home and look after the children, any money or property was given to the male. Woman had limitations in their life, they couldn't go out into public by themselves or talk to strangers and as a result women would rarely be seen outside their homes or if they were, they would cover their heads with veils.
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In Jesus’ time, Tax Collectors were considered outcasts in society, they were hated by the Jewish, due to their perceived greed and collaboration with the Roman occupiers. They were marginalised in society due to their jobs, which was to collect the money from citizens to give to the Government. However, they would often demand more money than what was owed, taking the extra for themselves. This made them seem greedy.
In Jesus’ time the sick were considered outcasts in society as many lacked medical knowledge, believing instead that the sickesses like leprosy was a result of sin against God and the sickness was their punishment. Some thought the sick were possessed by demons. The sick were excluded from society and were seen as unclean and were mainly ignored.
Social Justice in the Luke’s Gospel
Choose ONE scripture passage that conveys the message of Social Justice. Describe what happens in the passage and explain how it demonstrates Jesus as a role model for social justice. Please include quotes and scripture references (300 words).
Social justice means that everyone should be given the same opportunities and treated equally regardless of their gender, age, race, religion or disability. In the Gospel of Luke the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) demonstrates Jesus as a role model for social justice. Jesus’ parable of The Good Samaritan was prompted by a man of law asking Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29, NRSV) The parable tells the story of a man travelling down from Jerusalem to Jericho, he encounters robbers along the way. He was stripped, beaten and left half dead. A priest came down the road, saw the injured man, and passed by him on the other side. A Levite passing by did the same. Lastly came a Samaritan who noticed the injured man and showed compassion by treating and binding his wounds, he then put him on his donkey and took him to an inn to be cared for. He gave money to the innkeeper, with the promise of more money to care for the wounded man. When Jesus asked the lawyer, which of the three men had been a neighbour, the man replied “The one who had mercy on him.” Then Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke10:37, NRSV). Here Jesus is teaching us to follow the Samaritans example by setting aside our prejudices and showing compassion and love for those we interact with in our daily lives, regardless of their race, religion, age or disability. We learn that our neighbour is all God’s creations and we are to love everyone, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27, NRSV) as Jesus has taught us. Through the parable The Good Samaritan, Jesus was teaching us the value of social justice to give generously of ourselves without wanting anything in return.
The Relevance of Luke’s Gospel Today
Luke's Gospel is relevant today, as his passage explores the teachings of Jesus and details what he did to help others. Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus and how he accepted and believed in all individuals including the marginalised and outcast of the time. Among the marginalised were women, the sick, Gentiles, sinners, orphans and the poor. In today’s society the poor are still a marginalised group as there is often a big gap between the rich and the poor. Poverty affects millions of people every year not only are they deprived of food, shelter, ability to get work, health care and an education but they are also being deprived of their dignity. Mission Australia is a Christian based charity that aims to promote social justice by meeting the needs of all people and to spread the love of God. They provide a nationwide service to help the disadvantaged and poor by providing safe and affordable housing, supporting disadvantaged children and families, empowering troubled youth, assisting people with mental illness and disabilities and by raising awareness of the disadvantaged and poor within Australia. They rely on government funding, public donation and volunteers to help. Charities like mission Australia are important today because poverty is not just a 3rd world problem but also affects those living in developed nations including Australia. Those affected by poverty in Australia include families, the disabled, the elderly, displaced people like refugees, the Indigenous and ethnic minorities. With the shortage of affordable housing and increase in rent means people like low income earners and the jobless, spend the majority of their income on housing making it difficult to afford other basic needs such as food and clothing, making charities like Mission Australia extremely important.