The Significance of Jesus’ Death in Luke’s Gospel

The following is a paper submitted to Dr. Joshua W. Jipp in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course NT 6211, Synoptic Gospels and Johannine Literature, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, October, 2014.


This paper seeks to investigate the significance, purpose, and/or meaning of Jesus’ death in the gospel of Luke. It will do so by examining Jesus’ death according to six topics: (1) Jesus’ death as the culmination of a theme of opposition to Jesus, (2) Jesus’ death as the fulfillment of God’s will and plan, (3) Jesus’ death as a pattern of discipleship, (4) Jesus’ death in the context of satanic conflict, (5) Jesus’ death in terms the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, and (6) Jesus’ death as explained in the Last Supper.

Culmination of a Theme of Opposition to Jesus

Conflict between Jesus and others, especially the leaders of the Jewish religious institution, is a significant theme in Luke’s gospel. From the opening chapters, Luke presents the infant Jesus as a child “appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel” (2:34). And from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, opposition to Jesus arises (4:22-29). In fact, Jesus sees His rejection as a defining feature of His ministry (7:31-35).

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