Shame in Luke

James Fowler provides us some examples of the prevalence of shame mainly in Luke’s Gospel. These are examples of Jesus’ interaction with people experiencing personal or social shame. “Among these one can point to the woman with an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48), the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying (Luke 18:9-14), Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7-42), and the story of Jesus’ gracious initiation of relationship with the tax collector Zacchaeus when he invites himself to the little man’s home and, by eating with him, conveys a profound acceptance that opens the way for his seeking forgiveness and a new life (Luke 19:1-10). In every case, Jesus breaks through ethnic or religious taboos that govern relations and build barriers between persons and groups. In every case, Jesus offers a quality of really seeing each of these persons and conveying such acceptance and regard that they find a new relation to him, to God, and to the communities of which they are part.”[1]

Other commentators direct us to other passages in Luke. In a previous post, we noted that Halvor Moxnes refers to Luke 13:10-17. Moxnes also wants us to notice, “how important the genealogy of Jesus is to the claim to status made for him”[2] (Luke 3:23–38; cf. Matt. 1:1–17.).  Genealogy gave status and honour to an individual and placed them securely in people’s minds at their appropriate level of honour, their station in life.


[1] James Fowler; “Faithful Change;” Abingdon Press, Nashville Tennessee, 1996: p143-144.

[2] Halvor Moxnes; “Honor and Shame,” in The Social Sciences and New Testament Interpretation, R. L. Rohrbaugh, ed. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1996: p28, cf. Jackson Wu; “Authority in a Collectivist Church: Identifying Critical Concerns for a Chinese Ecclesiology;” Contemporary Practice of www.GlobalMissiology.org , October 2011; Web, available through http://beautyofpartnership.org/about/free  at http://wernermischke.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/authority-in-a-collectivist-church-global-missiology-oct-2011.pdf; 21st November 2103, p15.

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