Military Leaders And Jonah In The Writings Of Luke, Part 2 -- By: Kenneth W. Yates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 173:692 (Oct 2016)
Article: Military Leaders And Jonah In The Writings Of Luke, Part 2
Author: Kenneth W. Yates


Military Leaders And Jonah In The Writings Of Luke, Part 2

Kenneth W. Yates

Kenneth W. Yates is a retired Army chaplain and is pastor of Little River Baptist Church, Jenkinsville, South Carolina.

Abstract

The Gentile soldier Naaman is mentioned in the first teaching by Jesus that Luke records. At the end of Acts, Luke describes Julius, another Gentile soldier. The two accounts share similarities with each other and with the story of Jonah that reinforce Luke’s message concerning the outreach of God to Gentiles.

Introduction

the first part of this series argued that Naaman, a Gentile military leader, is used by Luke to support his message that Gentiles are included in God’s plan of salvation. The Lord Jesus mentions Naaman in his first sermon, given at Nazareth (Luke 4:27). This sermon shows not only that God reaches out to Gentiles, but that these Gentiles can respond to the revelation of God, even when some Jews fail to respond. God can reach these Gentiles in spite of their pagan backgrounds. Related to all of this are the allusions to the Old Testament prophet Jonah in the sermon at Nazareth and the mention of Naaman.

In Luke, Naaman is part of the earliest teaching of the Lord. At the end of Luke’s two-volume work, Luke–Acts, he writes of another Gentile military leader, a Roman centurion named Julius. Therefore, Naaman is found in the beginning of Christ’s ministry and Julius is found at the end of the ministry of Christ’s apostle. In the account of Julius the reader finds the same themes that were present in the mention of Naaman. As such, these two men form an inclusio that supports Luke’s message about Gentiles.

Julius And Jonah

The centurion Julius escorts Paul during the latter’s trip to Rome to appear before Caesar in Acts 27-28. Many have noted the similarities with Jonah in the journey of Paul and Julius.1 Both Jonah and Paul were missionaries to the Gentiles. Both were involved in a storm on the Mediterranean that threatened the lives of all on board, and both were responsible for the deliverance of all of them. Both ended up on dry land and both preached in the Gentile capital of the world afterwards.2 Among sailors who relied on other gods for protection, both gave credit to the God of the Jews for their deliverance (Jonah 1:14-16; Acts 27:...

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