The Household (Pt. 4)

Luke is the only known Gentile author in the New Testament, his name is unrelated to a Jewish family, it is a Greek name from western Europe and is vague in it’s definition, but probably is in connection with the thought of enlightenment. 52 Chapters of the New Testament are attributed to Luke, both his Gospel & Acts account for a 1/3 of the New Testament. His work includes more details about Christ’s infancy and miracles of healing than any other author, which is what we would expect from a doctor. We learn about Luke as a person from 5 passages.

Colossians 4:14, he was a dear friend and doctor to Paul the Apostle. On the subject of Luke being a doctor, you can see a relation between Mark 5:26 & Luke 8:43.  Mark had said that a certain woman needing healing ‘had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better, but rather grew worse.” Luke, perhaps trying to defend his professional colleagues, merely said that this same woman “could not be healed by anyone.’ That is, they had done their best, but it was an incurable disease.

Philemon 1:23-24, shows that Luke worked with Paul while in prison, enduring shame and risking his own welfare for the propagation of the gospel. In 2nd Timothy 4:9-11, Luke was the only person able to encourage Paul while he was incarcerated for a time, proving his faithfulness to both the Lord and Paul’s mission efforts against all odds. It is interesting to note that if not for Luke, we would not have any indication of how long it took for the work of the Apostles to reach Rome. Acts ends with the power of the gospel being preached at Rome, which by direct implication means the gospel has extended to the world, because for the civilized world, Rome was the superpower and center of their world. From there, the gospel would have free course!

From Luke 1:1-3 & Acts 1:1-2 we learn the purpose of his writings, which tells us a little about what kind of Christian he was. Luke seems to be the only New Testament writer that was interested in “an orderly account” of the life of Christ. He doesn’t say he wanted to write out a chronological order of events, but he does emphasize the need to describe it in a logical orderly way, so that a person by the name of Theophilus could ascertain exactly who the Christ is. This means Luke valued using logical reasoning for ascertaining facts about Christ and his Church. He did all this for just one person whose name was Theophilus!  But once Theophilus had received the message, understood the contents and deduced a conclusion, he was obviously convinced that anyone and everyone should have this account, turning it into public knowledge. The literary grammar and precise facts of the gospel of Luke are truly beautiful. The historian Sir William Ramsey proclaims his Greek syntax and accuracy of locations are geographically precise.

Luke was the kind of Christian that could have been very successful by the standards and definition of what the world called successful, but he obviously decided against that direction in life. His profession was used to support the missionary efforts of Paul & Silas & Timothy. He devoted himself to writing the gospel of Christ and recording the history of the church, and his professional skills in healthcare were used for his fellow Christians, if they were used at all. It is conjecture to suppose Luke practiced medicine as a priority, instead the New Testament makes it clear he used much of his time doing research, traveling, writing and practical support of the mission efforts of Paul. From God’s perspective, that is SUCCESS. Luke helps us understand how real success as a Christian is defined, or should be defined. Read 1st Corinthians 1:26-31

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