- And it is striking to note that the verses, as familiar as they are, do not represent Luke’s own understanding of the death of Jesus. For it is a striking feature of Luke’s portrayal of Jesus death — this may sound strange at first — that he never, anywhere else, indicates that the death itself is what brings salvation from sin. Nowhere in Luke’s entire two volume work (Luke and Acts), is Jesus’ death said to be “for you.” And in fact, on the two occasions in which Luke’s source Mark indicates that it was by Jesus’ death that salvation came (Mark 10:45; 15:39), Luke changed the wording of the text (or eliminated it). Luke, in other words, has a different understanding of the way Jesus death leads to salvation from Mark (and from Paul, and other early Christian writers). It is easy to see Luke’s own distinctive view by considering what he has to say in the book of Acts, where the apostles give a number of speeches in order to convert others to the faith. What is striking is that in none of these instances (look, e.g., in chapters 3, 4, 13), do the apostles indicate that Jesus’ death brings atonement for sins. It is not that Jesus’ death is unimportant. It’s extremely important for Luke. But not as an atonement. Instead, Jesus death is what makes people realize their guilt before God (since he died even though he was innocent). Once people recognize their guilt, they turn to God in repentance, and then he forgives their sins. (Bart Ehrman)
I’m happy to announce I’ve completed my Scripture Studies Web Project: Jesus, Philosophically. In it are a Deleuzian assemblage of posts that are my interpretation, as an atheist, of what is Philosophically interesting about Jesus, the most influential figure in human history. To see the project, click on the image below:
My hope is that some time, some where, someone will read some of this and find it helpful on their own path, regardless of whether they agree or not. That’s all any teacher can hope for!