In the early days of a movement rooted in Judaism, the author of Luke and Acts, two of the most beloved books of the New Testament, wasn’t just a newcomer among Jesus’ followers; he was also a Gentile. It’s little wonder, then, that Luke highlights religious and social dynamics throughout his Gospel, paying careful attention to how Jesus welcomes outsiders and rebukes insiders. Interpreting Luke’s account of the Jewish Messiah through a collection of sermons, Michael Smith dismantles the pious illusions behind political elitism and reminds readers that we are all outsiders in need of God’s grace. For anyone who has looked for themselves in biblical stories, this might be their book.
Each volume of the Preaching the Word series consists of a collection of sermons preached through a book or books of the Bible. As in other commentaries, the author analyzes and seeks to interpret each passage. But Preaching the Word also exists as a testament to the Word preached, a homiletical commentary unfolding within a community of faith. Thus, this series allows us to approach the letters and histories of the New Testament as the first recipients did: as hearers of God’s Word.
You are in for a challenging and exciting journey through the Gospel according to Luke led by Mike Smith. Rich experience as a pastor and Christian leader has furnished him with eye-opening insights into the Jesus story as it bears on our lives today. Be warned: Luke won’t leave you comfortable with the way you may follow Jesus now. Yet he will point you to the One who can enable you to be what God wants you to be.
—E. Glenn Hinson
Professor Emeritus, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
I have been privileged—blessed, actually—to have been a member of a Baptist church where Dr. Michael A. Smith served as pastor. I have also been blessed by an abiding friendship with Mike of more than three decades. Mike is a brilliant communicator whose preaching, teaching, pastoral ministry, and congregational leadership have been infused with wisdom, insight, and a profound understanding of, and love for, Holy Scripture. While his writing is simple, clear, and direct (much like his preaching), it is anything but shallow. After reading this book, you too will have a deeper love for the Gospel of Luke—and for the Jesus who inspired and embodied the truths of this transformational Gospel.
Executive Director & Publisher, Baptist News Global
If you are looking for a polite book to reaffirm your sense of biblical literacy and justify your limited vision of God’s kingdom filled with people like you, then you better look elsewhere. Here, Mike Smith reminds us of the radically inclusive, deeply subversive message of Luke’s Gospel: one in which Jesus ran with the wrong kind of people, offended the sincerely held beliefs of the respectable religious authorities, and lived out God’s preference for loving people over obeying rules. Mike’s pastoral voice gently invites us to hear Luke’s ancient stories as our stories here and now, and he challenges us to find God “working underground” among today’s “outsiders.” But be warned! For those of us on the “inside,” as Mike makes it clear, the Jesus in Luke’s Gospel can not be tamed.
Author, A Rabbi & a Preacher Go to a Pride Parade
Dr. Smith brings his pastoral heart, innovative voice, and stalwart dedication to biblical interpretation to this incredible book. Preaching the Word: Luke provides an excellent resource for clergy and laity who take the Scriptures seriously and seek a creative means to proclaim its truths.
—R. Mitchell Randall
Executive Director, Ethics Daily
Mike Smith drills down on what separates Luke from the other gospels. “Luke’s Gospel tells the good news of Christ to all those considered by others or themselves to be outsiders. Sometimes I call it ‘The Outsider’s Guide to Jesus.’”
What if today’s church took this same approach? Here, readers will recognize the lifelong relationship between a pastor and congregation, his love for Luke’s account, and the transformative power of its external focus. Luke’s claim on his 1st century audience is evident. In these reflections, its contemporary relevance is undeniable.
Center for Healthy Churches