Luke constantly appeals to the Jews—perhaps even the same Jews who now accuse Paul before Caesar—to find the very hope they seek (Acts 26:6-7). But to find it, they must stop doing what they are doing (Luke 3:7-8) and receive cleansing on the inside from the mighty one (Luke 3:15-16).
Upon analyzing Luke’s treatment of the Jews in both Luke and Acts, I concluded that neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor Luke gleefully wished doom on the Jews. Paul says as much regarding himself, in both Acts (Acts 28:19-20) and his own letters (e.g. Rom 9:1-3, 10:1). Yet he remains confident in the justice of that coming doom as retribution for the way the Jews treated both their God and his message (1 Thess 2:14b-16).
So throughout both Luke and Acts, we ought to notice a consistent thread of appeal to the Jews to turn around before it’s too late. Though Luke’s primary audience is Theophilus (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1), a “most excellent” Roman official, Luke extends persistent invitations to a secondary audience, the Jewish people, to repent while they still can.
Luke’s Appeal to the Jews
Luke wants the Jews to repent and turn to Jesus.
We see this appeal in Jesus’ tearful regret over his people (Luke 19:41-44). We see it in Jesus’ stern warning after they try to implicate Pontius Pilate (Luke 13:1-5). Luke follows that warning with a parable (Luke 13:6-8) and healing episode (Luke 13:10-17) whose allusions to the rotten vine of Isaiah (Isaiah 5:1-7) and the subsequent ethical condemnation (Isaiah 5:8-25) must not be missed.
We see the appeal in Jesus’ inaugural sermon in Luke, where he offers himself to the people of Israel, for the sake of their liberty, sight, and reception of God’s favor (Luke 4:17-21).