The character and purpose of Luke's christology
Building on the assumption that for most New Testament writers their literary motives strongly influence their expressed christology, the aim of this work is to develop a writing concern which would explain the character and purpose of Luke's recorded christology. After surveying fifteen different positions on what scholars think represents Luke's controlling christology, it becomes evident that there still exists a need to establish a writing concern which pulls together Luke's rather diverse and complex christology under some common rubric. Our method for accomplishing the task is to examine the character of Luke's christology in conjunction with his purpose in writing, taking into consideration the influences of Mark's Gospel and a fitting Pauline parallel. Luke writes c. A.D. 62-80 to a group of believers characterized by the church issue of second-generation Christianity. His chief intention is to show how Jesus' life stands as the believer's ethical imperative and model for Christian living and how the early church reflects his likeness in their own life and witness. Support for this thesis first becomes evident in Luke's revision of Mark. The author's improvement of Mark according to this writing concern is visible in both the form of Luke-Acts, i.e., the clarification and supplementation of Mark, especially according to the themes of the resurrection, Spirit baptism and salvation history, and in the area of Luke-Acts, i.e. the specific issues treated, especially christology and the Lordship of Christ as the backdrop to his servanthood. A second comparison which supports this thesis is the close similarity between Paul's use of the Christ Hymn in Philippians and the function of Luke's two stage humiliation-exaltation christology in his two-volume work. As with Paul in Philippians, Luke shapes the content and structure of both volumes according to the idea of discipleship, i.e., to live as the master had lived. Thus, Luke designs the book of Acts to exemplify what it means for believers to conform themselves to the attitudes and behaviour which characterized the servanthood of the Lord Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel.