Do you wish that Luke had included everything that Jesus told the disciples on the Emmaus road?
Honestly, I am (as much any as any of those preachers James says totally miss the point) tempted to wonder how an outright word-for-word dictation of Jesus interpreting excerpts from Hebrew scriptures would read. However, James’ point is well taken; Luke did something far greater when he “gave us the structure of a living interpretive presence.”
In Module 1.3, I mentioned how I would be an utter failure at leading a group Bible study if I were “to dominate the role of interpreter and force-feed my position to listeners” whose job would then merely consist of either listening approvingly or acquiescing to my position. It is easy enough for me to say such a thing about myself, because it comes across as modesty. However, it is a bit more unnerving to say the same about St. Luke. Wouldn’t we want an interpreter to dominate us and force-feed us positions, if we were fully convinced that he was reliably conveying the character of the Son of God? Wouldn’t readers of the Gospel do best to acquiesce, if they can’t yet listen approvingly?
I suppose the answer is “no” and “no.” No, the true Son of God doesn’t dominate or force-feed positions, and any reliable conveyor of his character wouldn’t do so in his name. And, no, readers of the Gospels can’t complete their reading by merely acquiescing. Nor can we know the truth by passively approving of something we hear. We know the truth when we are enlivened.