To look at something from another perspective is often key to understanding it better and with greater depth. It also provides us with an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and to challenge who and what we are. In Rediscover Jesus, and based on an actual study tour of the Holy Land, Peter Edmonds guides us through the land, the personalities and the language of Luke. An essential resource for groups and individuals wishing to gain a deeper and broader understanding of Luke’s Gospel, the suggestions for further reflection and discussion, and the questions and answers at the end of the final chapter, will transform your understanding of the world Luke was from and the true meaning of his words.
- The author has a rare gift: that of combining meticulous scholarship with an easy pedagogy and a respect for the mind of the reader. Review by Peter Hackett SJ (The Way, July 2008)
Ten chapters help the reader to articulate the special character of Luke's Gospel and how it differs from the other Gospels, a subject introduced by the examination of the story of the arrest of Jesus as told by each of the four. The vulnerable Jesus of Mark's Gospel becomes the self-aware, articulate Saviour of Luke, a preparation for the divine presence in John.
Luke's infancy narrative is told almost entirely in the language of incidents of the Old Testament, revealing to a Gentile audience that Jesus is the true embodiment of God's special presence in the world. The heightened sense of mission expressed by Jesus' manifesto in the Capernaum synagogue emphasises the role of Saviour already implicit in the baptism and the temptations. The clearer distinction between the Galilean ministry and the journey to Jerusalem - a new exodus - further explicit in the account of the transfiguration, signals a change of direction in Jesus' ministry, reinforced by the emphasis on Jerusalem as the place of salvation. Special attention is given to Luke's account of the passion and resurrection of Jesus, especially to the way in which Jesus himself interprets the story. He speaks on his own behalf. The way of the cross is a series of personal encounters, reaching a climax with 'this day will be with me in paradise'. The evocative story of Emmaus echoes the institution of the Eucharist and celebrates the abiding presence of Christ in the Church. Jerusalem becomes, in the Acts of the Apostles, the place of the gift of the Spirit, therefore the location from which the early history of the Church emanated.
None of this is allowed to remain just a matter of information: the reader is invited to identify with those who encounter Jesus and make his teaching their own, prompted by testing questions at the end of each chapter. Two chapters look at discipleship, from the perspectives both of call and response, each firmly grounded in the text of the Gospel. An epilogue invites consideration of the teaching of the Church and the Fathers about the fundamental importance of reading and living the Scriptures. It invites, too, a personal reflection based on the experience of the original pilgrims: how can, does, and will the gospel transform my life?
Two appendices offer the reader the opportunity to make personal 'pilgrimage': the first explaining lectio divina, the second providing a quiz. They prompt me to pose two questions. Is Rediscover Jesus quite the appropriate title, when what it offers is not within the gift of any book, even a Gospel? And are the questions put sometimes somewhat pedestrian, when there remains a more basic one as to why the Gospel has its particular character? This quite excellent account of a journey of spiritual discovery both opens the heart to the working of the Spirit, and leaves the reader with an unanswered question: why a Gospel of such sensitivity to the human condition?
(Posted on 08/04/2013)