Luke writes in Acts 1:8 that “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (The Holy Bible 2132). This statement marks the beginning of missionary journeys from the Jews to the gentiles. The gospel of Luke is a thorough account of Christ’s mission to the Jews. The Son of God came to save the lost, preaching with power, evidenced by signs and wonders. He preached on the synagogues and the streets of Jerusalem. However, as prophesied by the prophets, Jews arrested Him, crucified, killed and buried Him. He resurrected on the third day and in Acts 1:8, Jesus talks to the disciples, giving them the great commission to spread the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Jesus gave the power to the disciples to spread the love of God to those who were initially considered gentiles and outcasts, as per the initial promise of salvation to the Jews. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle adequately re-contextualize Luke’s writings as it spreads love and compassion to convicts and criminals.
According to the gospel of Luke, Luke brings out the meaning of the gospel, the mission of Jesus Christ to lost house of Israel, teaching and doing miracles. The book ends with Jesus’ crucifixion and raising from the dead as a sign of victory. Theologically, the connection between the gospel of Luke and Acts of Apostles is an evidence of one author. Luke was not one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. He was later converted, taking his time to do research on what happened when from birth of Christ before penning the gospel of Luke. In the book of Acts of Apostles, they join hands with other apostles like Paul of Tarsus, Timothy, Peter, John and the rest to spread the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.
Acts of Apostles is all about the inclusion of Gentiles into the redeeming quality of Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul, after his conversion embarks on a journey towards spreading the gospel to the Gentiles, amid controversy from the other apostles. According to Luke, Jesus gave a commission to spread the gospel to Jews and the Gentiles. Note that the initial promises from God the Almighty did not cover the Gentiles but Hebrews only. Acts of Apostles and the rest of the epistles expounds on the grace of God to the all people, Jews and Gentiles alike.
In Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Gregory Boyle writes of his personal experiences in his attempt to spread the love of God to those the society sees as outcasts. He owns a bakery known as Homeboy Industries in the outskirts of Los Angeles. The main purpose for this business is to help reach out and help the gangs find livelihood and integrate into the society as normal members of the society. In his essays, he recounts of the experiences while dealing with the gangs. The stories are most about what happens when people love others unconditionally. According to Acts of Apostles, the gospel is about the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ opened the redeeming quality to all people. The unconditional love only requires faith and belief in Christ as the savior.
Boyle’s mission in Los Angeles began after experiencing the impact of crime and gang life in the city. He literally used his bicycles to visit the neighborhood and the prisons to reach out and find the real situation on the ground. He literally started Homeboy Industries to help the gangs start a new life out of employment. He spread the love to those whom the society had given up. The gangs who sought employment at his place were those who had committed serious offences in the city. Most of them had been jailed and come out of prison several times. They were angry with everybody and everything. However, through the unconditional love by Boyle, these gangs secured jobs, abandoned their past lives, had families and integrated themselves into the society.
The meeting of believers in the Acts of Apostles gave birth to the first Church, a community who believed in supporting each through prayer and helping the needy. In Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Boyle recounts of the heartbreaking experiences as the former gang members killed most of his converted employees. His love towards the gang members never faded, even at death. As an ordained servant of God, he presided over the burial of more than 165 men and women (Boyle 23). However, Boyle never gave up on his mission.
The power of reconciliation is evident in Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Boyle works towards reconciling the rivalry gangs in the neighborhood. He employs them, allows them to work side by side in the bakery until they learn how to cope. Just as Christ’s love reconciles all people, Gentiles and Jews can now enter into the glorious Kingdom of God. The many testimonies of the people whose lives were changed by Boyle efforts prove that compassion and love works towards reconciling people to God. This is a re-contextualizing of Luke’s writings.
Boyle, Gregory. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Free Press, 2010.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan House, 1984. Print