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Document Details :
Title: A Stranger in the City
Subtitle: A Contribution to the Study of the Narrative Christology in Luke's Gospel
Author(s): DENAUX, Adelbert
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Date: winter 2005
In the past, the study of Luke’s Christology was often confined to a search for the meaning and function of his Christological titles, such as Christ, Savior, Lord, and others. This type of ‘titular’ Christological study can be supplemented and enriched, though not replaced, by what we would call a ‘narrative’ Christological study of Luke’s Gospel. In this article, we attempt to show that, in his Gospel, Luke characterizes his main narrative agent, Jesus, as a ‘stranger in the city’ (cf. Lk 24:18). Following a well-known Hellenistic pattern of gods visiting the earth in human form and receiving/or being refused hospitality by human beings, Luke presents Jesus as a stranger, God’s messenger or prophet, who visits his people to offer them God’s salvation. In the second part of his Gospel (9:51–23:53) this divine visit (episkope/episkopein) is focused on the city of Jerusalem. But the citizens (19:14) and their religious leaders (19:39) refuse to receive the visiting stranger as God’s prophet and Davidic king. Since they did not recognize the time of God’s visitation, divine punishment, instead of salvation, will come upon them (Lk 19:41-44). By using spatial imagery (e.g. coming down/being lifted up) to characterize the beginning and the end of Jesus’ earthly life, Luke implicitly points to the Christological importance of his narrative characterization: Jesus is a Heavenly Stranger, at home in God’s house (Lk 2:48-49), who comes down from on high (Lk 1:78), and is taken up again into God’s world (Lk 9:51; 24,51; compare Acts 1:2,11,22). Hence, Luke’s Christology may be said to form a bridge between Mark’s Christology and the Christology of John, who develops an explicit katabasis/anabasis Christology.