Spotlight on Scripture

Easter & Evangelization in Luke: Evangelization Is a Community Task (4) by Steve Mueller

Luke understood that the death and resurrection of Jesus was just the beginning of the Christian experience. He added to his gospel the story of the growth and development of the early Christian community as it assumes its responsibility to carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus. Although the book is organized around the evangelizations of Peter and Paul, its focus is the Holy Spirit's empowerment and guidance of their mission of evangelization.

Luke stresses that the whole community shares the apostolic task. As the community grows and begins its witness, Luke notes that it first goes through a process of integration before it can evangelize. In chapter one, the disciples realize that they must choose a new disciple to replace Judas so the number of disciples Jesus wanted would be maintained. The choice of Matthias makes possible the descent of the Holy Spirit to empower the community for their witness and evangelization. When the community is whole, it steps forth to evangelize.

Again in chapter six, the disciples cannot meet all the needs of the growing community. So they choose seven deacons to assist them. Their restructuring of the community provides the springboard to the greater evangelization of Hellenistic Jews by Stephen and Philip.

In chapter ten, Peter is taught in a dream that evangelization must extend to gentiles. Peter's insight hinges on a new understanding of God. Since God shows no partiality, neither should Christians. The good news must be spread to the ends of the earth. 

From chapter thirteen on, Paul's evangelizing journeys exemplify this world-wide mission which has continued to this day. His evangelization opened out to the whole Mediterranean world and resulted in the spread of the gospel and the growth of the community which made Christianity into the world-wide religion it is today.

© 2022 Steve Mueller

Steve Mueller is the author of the five books in the Catechist's Guide to Reading the Bible Series. 

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