Luke's narrative indicates that the concept of the kingdom of God is able to summarize the message and ministry of Jesus, the Twelve, and Paul. Jesus summarizes his gospel in these terms in Luke 4:43, and Luke highlights the significance of the kingdom by placing kingdom terms and summaries at strategic locations in his two-volume work. Jesus teaches his disciples about the kingdom in the opening chapter of Acts, which ties Luke's second volume to his first, and Paul is proclaiming the kingdom in Rome at the close of the narrative (Acts 28:30-31). Thus, kingdom descriptions function as bookends to the work of Jesus and his followers and also stitch Luke's two volumes together. Other kingdom summaries of the message and ministry of Jesus, the Twelve, and Paul appear throughout the narrative (e.g., Luke 6:20; 8:1; 9:2; 11:20; 16:16; 17:20–21; Acts 20:25).
Along with Luke's attention to the kingdom comes an emphasis on Jesus' concern for the poor. Indeed, when Jesus begins his public ministry in Luke's narrative, he claims that he fulfills Isaiah 61:1 as the one anointed by the Spirit to proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to the captives and oppressed, and sight to the blind. Jesus indicates in Luke 4:43 that the good news he proclaims to the poor is the good news of the kingdom of God. The narrative subsequently exhibits a close relationship between the kingdom of God and the poor (e.g., Luke 6:20).
Luke shows a notable dependence on Isaiah for his theological outlook. The Davidic king and the Servant will defend the cause of and care for the poor. In both Isaiah and Luke-Acts "poor" is a broad term for many kinds of weaknesses, especially those caused by uncontrollable circumstances (e.g., widowhood or blindness) or by unjust and oppressive treatment by others. The poor are socially marginalized because of their weaknesses. Jesus comes proclaiming the kingdom and bringing relief from such poverties. He heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, casts out demons, and even raises the dead. He thus proclaims "good news to the poor."
Jesus' miraculous works on behalf of the poor, along with those of the Twelve, demonstrate that the kingdom of God has come near (e.g., Luke 9:1–2; 11:20). Nevertheless, Luke indicates that the most fundamental poverty that Jesus comes to heal is spiritual blindness and captivity. He comes to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32) and provides forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:46–47), thus freeing them from their spiritual blindness and captivity to Satan. The narrative of Acts shifts from focusing heavily on miraculous works of healing to the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name to all the nations in the power of the Spirit. The Twelve and Paul regularly proclaim that Jesus is the Christ who suffered and rose according to the Scriptures, and they call their hearers to repentance. Paul claims that Jesus sent him to open the eyes of the (blind) Gentiles, "so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [Jesus]" (Acts 26:17–18). Paul's statement calls to mind Jesus' own commission from Isaiah 61:1 to give sight to the blind and liberty to the captives. Paul is carrying that mission to its end, bringing spiritual sight and liberty to the nations. Such sight and liberty are among the most fundamental effects of kingdom proclamation in the post-Pentecost era.
Despite the shift in emphasis to a more fundamental form of poverty, the believers who have become partakers of the Spirit continue to provide help to the poor. They sell their possessions to help the needy among them (Acts 2:45; 4:34–35), they appoint leaders to provide for the widows who are being neglected (Acts 6:1–6), and they send aid to the poor brothers in Jerusalem (Acts 11:29–30). This care for the poor among the believing community provides a foretaste of the kingdom feast where the poor will come to the kingdom banquet (see Luke 14:12–24; Acts 2:46–47).
The contemporary church must continue to proclaim the kingdom-gospel by taking the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name to all the nations in the power of the Spirit, so that those who are spiritually blind and captive might see and go free. The church must especially bring this gospel to those who are weak and socially marginalized in the world and labor to care for the needs of the poor in the believing community.