The Gospel of Luke

Timing is Everything

You’ve noticed that we are reading the gospels out of their published order. We began with Mark (because it is the earliest and shortest gospel), moved to Matthew and John, and now we are reading Luke. Luke’s famous infancy narrative is the reason we’re reading this gospel as we move into the Christmas season.

The gospel of Luke is part 1 of a 2 part story. In January we will read Acts, the 2nd part of Luke’s story.

What Luke’s Introduction Tells Us

Luke begins his narrative by giving us a glimpse into how he went about writing his gospel:

So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught. (Luke 1:1-4 The Message)

Luke was aware that “many others have tried their hand at putting together” accounts of Jesus’ life. These narratives were based on “reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses” to Jesus’ earthly life. Luke “investigated all the reports in close detail” and shaped his own account from them.

We don’t know who Theophilus was. Luke only reveals that he is a Christ follower who has received instruction in the Christian faith. Theophilus is literally friend of God.

Some Things to Notice as You Read

• Luke is the most gentile of the gospels. Luke, who was presumably non-Jewish, was keenly interested in Jesus’ encounters with people who were not Jews. Luke’s focus is on outsiders.

• Luke includes the story of John the Baptizer’s birth.

• The infancy narrative is from Mary’s point of view.

• Luke-only material includes some of the most famous stories in the Bible: Prodigal Son (15:11-32), Good Samaritan (10:29-37), Zaccheus (19:1-10)

• According to tradition the gospel was written by “Luke the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14).  Second century Christian sources report that Luke accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and composed his gospel from reports which he gathered.

• Luke presents Jesus as the advocate of the outsiders.

As always, use “Leave a Reply” to share your questions, interpretations and opinions.

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8 Responses to The Gospel of Luke

  1. logan jones says:

    Chapter one, verse 80 reads [TNIV] “And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.”

    the wilderness, really? what does Luke mean?


    • beth mc. says:

      The wilderness motif in scripture points to purification/testing/renewal (people of Israel in wilderness – Deuteronomy 8:2 “Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.” – Elijah in wilderness, 1 Kings 19 – many other OT examples – and of course, Jesus in the wilderness/temptation stories). So maybe this doesn’t mean so much that John literally lived in the wilderness while he was growing up, but points to who he was/what he was about. He obviously had an intense personality and a strong call – it’s easy for me to picture him as the type of young person who is “different” from peers, spends time alone, goes to the wilderness as a place where he can think and pray and understand what God might be calling him to do….

  2. Wendy says:

    Please provide a refresher for me. For this Sunday, November how many chapters are we to have read? I can barely get past chapter 1 seeing so much with new eyes!

  3. beth mc. says:

    Something I had not noticed before – the difference in Luke’s account of John’s preaching in 3:10-14. In Luke’s story, John spells out what people should do in response to his words (what “repentance” looks like): people should share the basic necessities of life, tax collectors should not defraud, soldiers should not extort money from the people. This has some of the echoes of the earlier Exodus covenant – making sure everyone has enough, not exploiting others to one’s own advantage.

  4. Lj says:

    Speaking of “standing out” … How about the latter part of chapter 12 … Verse 49 to the End.

    “Wha… what?”

    In chapter 2 it’s about Peace on earth … And in 12 Jesus is NOT come to peace …



  5. Lj says:

    “to bring peace” i meant …

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