Explaining Jesus’ Crucifixion
Neither Luke nor Matthew nor Mark accuses the Pharisees or “the Jews” in general as the parties responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.
By Helmut Koester
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The author of the Gospel of Luke was a well-educated gentile Christian. He may have been originally a God-fearer—a gentile who had become an adherent of a Jewish synagogue community before he was converted to the message of Jesus. Luke had an excellent knowledge of the Bible of Israel (the Christian Old Testament) in its Greek translation. He never had any doubt that Jesus, a Jew from Galilee who came from the family of David, belonged to the people of Israel. When the angel announces Jesus’ birth to Mary, he says that “God will give to her child the throne of his ancestor David” and that “he will reign over the house of Jacob forever” (Luke 1:32–33). In her song, the “Magnificat,” Mary praises God that “he has helped his servant Israel” (Luke 1:54). It is also only this Gospel that includes the story of Joseph and the pregnant mother of Jesus going to Bethlehem, the city of David.

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