I. Prologue (Luke 1:1-4)
In a formal preface, the author introduces the book as a meaningful narrative, "an orderly account" meant to build up the faith of a Christian reader.
II. The Births of John and Jesus (Luke 1:5-2:40)
The miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus reaffirm God's faithfulness to the people of Israel, for these events declare the coming of Christ the Savior, God's remembrance of the Jewish people, and hope for Gentiles.
A. Angels Announce the Births of John and Jesus (Luke 1:5-56)
An angel tells the aged priest Zechariah that he and Elizabeth will have a son named John, then Mary learns that she will give birth to God's Son. Mary accepts this news and responds with a prophetic hymn that declares God's great deeds.
B. John the Baptist Is Born (Luke 1:57-80)
Elizabeth gives birth to John, then Zechariah speaks a prophecy that declares Jesus to be Israel's Savior and John to be a prophet who will make preparations for the coming of the Lord.
C. Jesus the Messiah Is Born and Circumcised (Luke 2:1-40)
Mary gives birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, shepherds visit and glorify God, and after eight days Jesus is brought to the Jerusalem temple. In the temple, a righteous man named Simeon and a prophet named Anna praise God with prophetic words about Jesus.
III. Events Prior to Jesus' Public Ministry (Luke 2:41-4:13)
Before Jesus begins his ministry, he grows in wisdom as a child, is baptized, and is tested by the devil in the wilderness. John the Baptist calls the people of Israel to repentance and is imprisoned.
A. Jesus Lost in the Temple at Age Twelve (Luke 2:41-52)
Jesus and his family travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, but when the group of pilgrims returns toward Nazareth, Jesus is missing. He stays in the temple for three days to converse with the teachers of Israel.
B. John the Baptist Calls for Repentance (Luke 3:1-20)
John baptizes people as a sign of repentance and forgiveness. He offers warnings, demands ethical behavior, and declares that one more powerful is coming.
C. Jesus' Baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit comes upon him, and God declares him to be God's beloved Son.
D. Jesus' Genealogy (Luke 3:23-38)
A genealogy traces Jesus' ancestry from his father Joseph, through David, through Abraham, all the way back to Adam.
E. The Devil Tests Jesus in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13)
The Spirit leads Jesus into the wild for forty days where he fasts and resists the devil's attempts to get him to misuse his power as God's Son.
IV. Jesus' Public Ministry in and around Galilee (Luke 4:14-9:50)
In his public ministry Jesus brings salvation and wholeness to many. This ministry proclaims the good news of the reign of God through Jesus' teaching, healing, and exorcisms of unclean spirits.
A. Jesus' Sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30)
In his hometown Jesus declares himself anointed by the Spirit of the Lord to proclaim good news and deliverance. When they learn that Jesus' ministry will have benefits for more than them alone, the people of Nazareth attempt to kill him.
B. Exorcism and Healings (Luke 4:31-44)
Jesus casts demons out of people and heals those who are sick, including Simon's mother-in-law.
C. Jesus Calls Three Fishermen (Luke 5:1-11)
Jesus tells Simon, James, and John how to catch an enormous number of fish, then promises that from this point forward, as his followers, they will be catching people.
D. Healings and Controversies (Luke 5:12-6:11)
Jesus continues his ministry of healing, even as people begin to question what looks to them like his disregard for Jewish law. Jesus replies by asserting his authority from God and disputing his opponents' interpretations of the law.
E. Jesus Selects Apostles and Teaches on a Plain (Luke 6:12-49)
Jesus chooses twelve apostles and teaches people about true blessedness, human relationships, and good character.
F. Jesus Heals, Answers Doubts, and Pronounces Forgiveness (Luke 7:1-50)
In a series of scenes, Jesus heals the slave of a Roman centurion in Capernaum, raises from the dead the only son of a widow in Nain, answers John the Baptist's doubts about his identity, and announces that a grateful woman has had her sins forgiven.
G. The Women Who Follow and Support Jesus (Luke 8:1-3)
As Jesus continues to proclaim and bring the good news of God's reign, the Gospel's narrator introduces readers to three of the many women who travel with Jesus and support his ministry.
H. Jesus Teaches and Performs Astounding Miracles (Luke 8:4-56)
In a series of scenes, Jesus tells a parable about a man sowing seeds and offers more teachings. Then comes a collection of impressive miracles: calming a storm at sea, driving multiple demons out of a tormented man, healing a long-suffering woman, and bringing a young girl back to life.
I. Jesus' Influence Continues to Expand (Luke 9:1-17)
Jesus sends his apostles out to exorcise demons, cure illnesses, and proclaim the kingdom of God, just as he has been doing. After his followers report back to him, he miraculously feeds a group of about five thousand people.
J. Jesus Tells about His Death, and God Confirms His Authority (Luke 9:18-50)
After a conversation about his identity, Jesus announces that he will be rejected, abused, killed, and raised from the dead. On a mountain he is transfigured, and God speaks to Peter, John, and James. An exorcism, another passion prediction, and some teachings follow.
V. Jesus' Ministry Continues as He Journeys to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:27)
Jesus continues his ministry of teaching, healing, and exorcising spirits as he travels toward Jerusalem. Many of the stories told in this section (Luke's "travel narrative") are found only in this Gospel.
A. Jesus' Work Continues amid Conflict (Luke 9:51-10:24)
Jesus is not allowed to enter a Samaritan village, a would-be follower is not ready to come with him, and Jesus sends seventy followers to cure the sick and proclaim the good news. The seventy return with news of success, while Jesus speaks about the judgment of cities and the downfall of Satan.
B. The Parable of the Neighborly Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
Jesus responds to a legal expert's questions about love by telling a parable about a Samaritan who helps a wounded traveler.
C. More Scenes of Teaching and Controversy (Luke 10:38-11:36)
In a series of short scenes, Jesus visits Mary and Martha, teaches about prayer, refutes those who accuse him of being empowered by Satan, and continues to teach people.
D. Warnings against False Piety (Luke 11:37-12:12)
Jesus denounces Pharisees and scribes for their hypocrisy. He warns his followers about those who will oppose them, but promises that they will receive guidance from the Holy Spirit.
E. Teachings about Confidence and Preparedness (Luke 12:13-48)
Jesus tells a parable about a rich man seeking security from his possessions, warns against anxiety about the future, and exhorts his followers to be ready and alert.
F. Coming Judgment (Luke 12:49-13:9)
Jesus speaks about the judgment and division that he has come to bring. He calls for repentance before judgment comes.
G. The Coming Kingdom of God (Luke 13:10-35)
A series of scenes illustrates aspects of God's reign. Jesus heals a woman's bent back in an act of deliverance, he describes the kingdom of God as a growing seed, he calls people to enter through "the narrow door," and he laments how Jerusalem responds to God's agents with violence.
H. Teachings about Discipleship (Luke 14:1-35)
After healing a man suffering from dropsy, Jesus teaches about humility and the costly aspects of being his disciple. He also tells a parable that illustrates the wide range of people who are called to share in the kingdom of God.
I. Parables of the Lost (Luke 15:1-32)
In response to people who grumble about Jesus' habit of embracing and eating with "tax collectors and sinners," he tells three parables about the finding of a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son (also this son's brother).
J. The Dangers of Wealth (Luke 16:1-31)
With two parables--one about a dishonest manager, one about a rich man and a poor man--Jesus speaks about wealth's connections to power, the dangers of neglecting the poor, and how wealth competes with God for people's devotion.
K. Teaching and Manifesting the Kingdom of God (Luke 17:1-18:30)
In a series of scenes, Jesus teaches about faithfulness and the kingdom of God, heals ten people afflicted with leprosy, offers parables about God's faithfulness and human humility, blesses children, and warns that the rich exclude themselves from God's reign.
L. Sight, Salvation, and Kingship (Luke 18:31-19:27)
Jesus speaks again about his coming suffering, death, and resurrection. Then, a blind beggar near Jericho receives sight from Jesus, Jesus proclaims the salvation of a rich tax collector who gives generously, and he tells a parable in response to speculation about the appearance of the reign of God.
VI. Jesus in Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-21:38)
Jesus arrives at Jerusalem and laments the city's failure to recognize God's visitation. He criticizes practices conducted in the temple, debates religious authorities, and foretells periods of destruction followed by his return in great glory.
A. Jesus Enters Jerusalem and the Temple (Luke 19:28-48)
Jesus rides toward Jerusalem on a colt as people acclaim him as king, he weeps when he sees the city, then he enters the temple and drives out people who had set up markets there.
B. Debate and Controversy in the Temple (Luke 20:1-21:4)
A number of scenes tell about Jesus as he teaches in the temple, where he condemns Jerusalem's religious leaders for their refusal to acknowledge his authority, their hypocrisy, and their failure to provide spiritual leadership.
C. Jesus Foretells Things to Come (Luke 21:5-38)
Jesus speaks about the destruction of the temple, the persecution that will afflict his followers, the siege of Jerusalem, and his future return as the glorified "Son of Man."
VII. Jesus' Arrest, Trials, and Crucifixion (Luke 22:1-23:56)
Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples, is arrested, is interrogated by Jewish and Roman authorities, and is executed by crucifixion.
A. The Last Supper (Luke 22:1-23)
Judas, prompted by Satan, secretly offers to betray Jesus. Jesus and his disciples then eat the Passover meal, at which Jesus says that the bread and wine represent his body and blood.
B. Jesus Instructs His Followers (Luke 22:24-38)
Jesus offers final teachings to his disciples and tells Peter that he will deny him three times.
C. Jesus' Arrest (Luke 22:39-54)
At the Mount of Olives, Jesus prays and submits himself to God's will. A group of chief priests, temple officers, and elders arrives to arrest Jesus and take him to the high priest's house.
D. Peter Denies Jesus (Luke 22:55-62)
At the courtyard of the high priest's house, three times Peter denies having any association with the prisoner Jesus.
E. Jesus on Trial (Luke 22:63-23:25)
A council of Jewish leaders interrogates Jesus then accuses him before the Roman governor, Pilate. First Pilate, then Herod Antipas, question Jesus until at last Pilate grants the leaders' and crowd's demands that Jesus be crucified.
F. The Death of Jesus (Luke 23:26-56)
Jesus is crucified between two outlaws, one of whom turns to Jesus and is promised a place in Paradise. Jesus dies quoting Psalm 31:5 ("Into your hands I commend my spirit"), and a Roman centurion declares Jesus' innocence.
VIII. Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension (Luke 24:1-53)
A group of women who were among Jesus' followers discover his tomb empty on the first day of the new week. Jesus appears to groups of his followers and ascends into heaven.
A. Discovery of the Empty Tomb (Luke 24:1-12)
The same women who witnessed Jesus' burial return to his tomb and find it empty. Two angelic beings announce to them that he has risen from the dead.
B. Jesus Appears to Two Followers as They Travel to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
Jesus joins Cleopas and a companion as they journey away from Jerusalem, but they do not recognize him even though he explains to them that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer. As all three of them share a meal in Emmaus, the two travelers recognize Jesus at the moment he blesses and breaks bread.
C. Jesus Appears to His Followers in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36-49)
Jesus appears to his followers, invites them to touch him, eats in their presence, and declares that his death and resurrection are a fulfillment of Scripture. He charges them to remain in Jerusalem until they receive "power from on high."
D. Jesus Is Carried up into Heaven (Luke 24:50-53)
At Bethany, Jesus blesses his followers and is taken into heaven. They return to Jerusalem and worship God in the temple.
AUTHOR: Matt Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament