“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”
Luke is doing research, compiling information about the works and person of Jesus Christ, and organizing it.
“Luke, a Gentile physician, builds his gospel narrative around a historical, chronological presentation of Jesus’ life. Luke’s is the longest and most comprehensive of the four Gospels, presenting Jesus Christ as the Perfect Man who came to seek and save sinful men. Growing belief and growing opposition develop side by side. those who believe His claims are challenged to count the; cost of discipleship; those who oppose Him will not be satisfied until the Son of Man hangs lifeless on a cross. But the Resurrection ensures that His ministry of seeking and saving the lost will continue in …His disciples once they have been equipped with His power.” (1.)
Luke: The Author
- Gentile physician. Oft noted that he uses more medical vocabulary than found in Hippocrates, generally considered the father of medicine.
- Excellent command of language. It cannot be overstated that his command of the language and his writing ability advanced his record into an educated audience of law, medicine, and we can safely compare it to “the educate and “thinkers” of the time. His use of chiasm stands out as a marvel to students of every generation who devote themselves to language, style, structure, and grammar. (Recommended: Charles Talbert, “Reading Luke”) (refresh yourself on the chiasm structure HERE)
- Luke gives the largest contribution to the NT (Luke & Acts)
Luke’s Gospel Account
Designated recipient: “Theophilus” in each book; his name literally means “friend or lover of God.” Both times he’s noted in Luke and Acts, he’s described as “most excellent” which may suggest he is a Roman as the same title was used by Paul addressing Felix and Festus, both Roman officials.
Whereas the emphasis in Matthew is on what Jesus said, and in Mark on what Jesus did, here in Luke it is rather on Jesus Himself.” (-J. Sidlow Baxter)
“Luke’s Gospel gives a reader a more comprehensive grasp of the history of the period than the other Gospels. He presented more facts about the earthly life of Jesus than did Matthew, Mark, or John.” (2.)
Luke emphasizes God, Jesus, salvation, prayer, discipleship, and––interestingly––eschatology.
He records 4 hymns:
•The Magnificat of Mary Lk. 1:46-55
•The Benedictus of Zacharias 1:67-79
•The Gloria in Excelsis from the heavenly host 2:14
•The Nunc Dimittis of Simeon 2:28-32
Interestingly Luke is the only synoptic author to use the noun form of Salvation/Savior in the gospels, and he uses the verb save more than any other NT book.
Uses the designation “Son of Man”
Additionally, Luke’s gospel and the book of Acts refer to praising God more than any other text in the New Testament.
Luke records approximately 20 parables
Luke has a broader audience, in some respects. He records Christ’s concern for all, from the Jews of the time but the despised Gentiles, poor, women, children, and sinners routinely disparaged.
Luke’s apologetic makes use of individuals from various backgrounds that bring forth his argument of why Christ came, and what He did and why:
•Details of Zacharias’ life
•The “Good Samaritan”
•The Prodigal Son
•The repentant tax collector Zacchaeus
•The disciples on the road to Emmaus
•Women: Elizabeth, Mary, Anna, Martha, Mary (Bethany), and children.
Luke’s gospel contains a striking attention to prayer, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, poverty v. wealth, medical details, and God’s offer to all: Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, rich, poor, respected and despised, publicans and pious religious leaders.
A core theme underlines the gospel for all who come after: discipleship and the very real cost of following Christ.
- A thorough apologetic to Theophilus
- A desire to preserve an historically accurate account of Jesus, present and future; hearers/readers to know they have a reliable record of the words and works of Jesus Christ “The exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4)
- Some argue that Luke’s intended audience included Greek emphasis when the vocabulary, material, and style used. We might think of it as a contextual “culturally urban record” for Greeks.
- “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
In Luke 15, we have the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son.
We can relate to the experience of losing something that means something to us. The ancients were no different. When you lose something important, you want (and search hard) to find it.
If you lose a son or daughter? You never recover. God will lose His Son so that the lost may be found.
Everyone hearing these parables would’ve understood this seek-and-save-the-lost picture––that when you lose something, the greatest joy is finding it, and the lost need to find salvation.
- Luke 11:1
This phrase sets up “The Lord’s Prayer,” perhaps more accurately: The Disciples’ Prayer.
Record of times Jesus slips away to pray:
Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, Luke 9:28, Luke 18:1
And then: Luke 22:40-46.
“Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Luke’s record of when the Savior slipped away to pray demonstrates that prayer was important to Him.
Luke 11:1 records the only thing Jesus’ disciples ever asked Him to teach them.
They didn’t ask Him to teach them to teach, perform miracles, walk on water, how to deal with the government, etc.––
When seeking to learn about a specific subject, it’s wise to ask counsel of experts who’ve had success in that field. The disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray.
Let’s pray what He said to them:
Pray, then, in this way:
Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
- Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Bible(Nashville: T. Nelson, 1983), 326.
- John A. Martin, “Luke,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, p. 201.