Fulfillment in Luke-Acts

Dani T. (NT3)

SUMMARY The theme of fulfilment appears to be very important in Luke-Acts, with Lk 1:1 establishing that his account is to be one which describes all that has been ‘fulfilled among us’. Likewise the first verses of Acts are loaded with the fulfilment of the promises of God. However, Luke’s language of fulfilment is less explicit that Matthew’s fulfilment formulae. He also uses far fewer direct quotations from the Old Testament. As such, some scholars (and particularly redaction critics) have claimed that it is a mistake to suppose he has much interest in fulfilment. This is an incorrect assertion, and an examination of the text shows that Luke is very concerned to present Jesus as the continuation, and fulfilment, of biblical salvation history. He does this in a number of ways; by extensive use of OT typology and allusion; by using his characters (rather than the narrator) to convey the fulfilment theme; through the speeches of Peter, Stephen and Paul. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms– Luke 24:44

Linguistic Analysis
plhrow word group  explict fulfilment language • 15 times in first few chapters • Highly significant at start, transfiguration, passion narrative and end o Eg. Lk 1:1, 1:20, 9:31, 21:22, 21:24, 22:16 24:44 • Luke giving his readers assurance (avsfaleia) by showing them the fulfilment of biblical history plhroforew pimplhmi • Lk 21:22  fulfilling of Scripture • All other references  filling with Holy Spirit, jealousy, anger etc boulh, boulhma, boulomai, qelhma • Lk 10:22, 22:42, 23:51, Acts 2:23, Acts 4:28

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Fulfillment and the OT in Luke-Acts
Each of the synoptics has a distinctive way of dealing with Scripture - Matthew  fulfilment formulae as a model of prediction and fulfilment - Mark  much more veiled and allusive - Luke  continuing great story of salvation history of God’s promise to Abraham and blessing to all people o Jesus as the continuation of biblical history o Trajectory follows through to Acts Luke’s style of greek, particularly in beginning of gospel and Acts is reminiscent of the LXX language In Acts, a salvation-historical approach to reading the OT is modelled in the speeches of Peter (2.16–36), Stephen (7.2–56) and Paul (13.16–41). Fewer citations than Matthew o most found in sayings of Jesus (which on redactional critical assumptions means there are no OT quotes in Luke) o Some argue this is because Gentiles not interested in prophecy. But they probably would be as they had their own oracles etc Does this mean that the OT and its fulfilment is not important for Luke? o No! Luke uses OT in figural correspondence, or types (see below)  Main usage is to develop his Christology

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Infancy Narratives – 5 main movements
Overture which introduces main Lukan themes A lot of implict fulfilment if not explicit o Ennunciation of John - Ends Elizabeth’s disgrace  Is 56 o Ennunciation of Jesus 1:31-33 - Echoes promises to David in 2 Sam 7 & Daniel 4 - Virgin birth echoes Is 7. The birth of a saving figure by a formally barren (in this case virgin) woman - Mary’s Magnificat like that of Hannah’s in 1 Sam 2 o Birth of John - Yahweh acting faithfully to redeem his people (obvious OT fulfilment) - John the Baptist is thus cast as the Samuel to go before the Messiah. Ps 103, 106, 107 are quoted.

o Birth of Jesus - First born son - Shepherds had important tole in Israel’s past - Witness Language  idea of certainity o Jesus in the Temple - Simone  2:28-32: consolation of Israel (Is 40) - Anna

Other OT Typology/Categories
Baptism (3:22) o Your are my son the beloved, with you I am well pleased o Seems to be combo of Ps 2:7 and Is 42:1  Combining hopes for Messiah with Servant of Israel

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Transfiguration o Similar to baptism but with added expectation of Jesus being the great prophet of Dt 18 Nazareth Manifesto (Lk 4:16-30) o Quote of Is 61 (unique to Lk)  Jesus is servant announcing good news to the poor Passion Narratives o Lk 22:37 quotes Is 53:12  Jesus is Servant of Is 40 ff  Only gospel to do so explicitly  Climax of what was intro’d in infancy narratives

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Jesus is presented as the saviour in OT typology, and OT categories. He Servant who will bring the true return from exile as Is 40ff speaks of.

Fulfillment & the Lukan Characters
Redaction critics say that because no explicit fulfilment formula Luke not really interested in fulfilment Narrative critics respond by saying opposite  the characters rather than the narrator gives link to OT o So rather than just telling us it explicitly his characters show us the fulfilment o Embeds the theme closer to the actions and makes it less of an academic pursuit as a real concern for the people Therefore Luke has embedded the fulfilment theme deep into the narrative

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Intra-narrative fulfilment theme
The fact that there is intra-narrative fulfilment embeds the theme even deeper. For example o Prediction of Jesus ‘departure’ in Jerusalem (at transfiguration 9:31) o Journey to Jerusalem (9:51) o Fulfilment of all this in passion narratives