Beginning in Luke

(Luke 1:1-4)

Having just completed looking at the Gospel of Mark, let us begin looking into what Luke had to say about the life and ministry of Jesus. First though, who was Luke?

caduceus-medical-symbolLuke was a physician and a companion of Paul in a number of his journeys. Being a physician he was clearly well educated and this is evident by the way in which he writes. Unlike John who wrote several books and had only a basic grip of the written Greek language, Luke was a skilled writer.

Also unlike the other writers of the gospels, it is evident from information in Paul’s letters that Luke was not a Jew but was a Gentile. The information he provides was not from first hand or personal eye-witness experience but was compiled from the information of other eyewitnesses to the life, times and ministry of the Lord. He provides this information in these first few lines of the gospel of Luke.

In these first few verses we see the approach Luke took to writing his gospel. He advises that there were many who had undertaken to “compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished amongst us.” (verse 1) Luke then advises that he will undertake to compile an “orderly account,” having followed all things closely for some time past. In these statements we see that his intention was to make a complet, accurate and ordered account of the Lords works and teachings. This is good news for us as we can take comfort that Luke was sincere in his quest and recorded for posterity the details of what happened at the outset of the ministry.

Luke addressed his gospel to someone he called “most excellent Theophilus.” Who this person was is lost in the mists of time, but clearly this was a person of some distinction given the way Luke addressed this person. He also wrote the book of Acts and also addressed it to this same person.

As for the gospel of Luke, what we find in this gospel is an orderly account of the times and works of Jesus. This is a different perspective to the other gospels even though it draws on many of the same teachings. We see the gospel of Matthew is quite focussed on how the life and events surrounding Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the Old Testament. John wrote a very spiritual perspective as one who daily was close to the Lord and heard all he had to say. Mark’s gospel supported all of these and is presumed to be the earliest and a possible source of materials for the other gospels who then built their own interpretations and perspective from his records.

So what we can expect to see as we go through the gospel of Luke is an accurate and orderly account of Jesus’ life.

(Picture sourced from http://www.sxc.hu/ provided by Dominik Gwarek)

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