7577 - Dr. Luke

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Today we begin a series on a book written by a gentile doctor.

I’m so glad you’re with us today as we begin a study through the Gospel of Luke.

Let me read chapter 1, verses 1-4 before further comment.
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Notice that Luke’s name is not mentioned in this preamble paragraph, but he is widely affirmed as the author of both this gospel and the book of Acts. But who is this man referred to as Dr. Luke?

We are first introduced to the person called Luke in Scripture in Acts 16:10, and his name is not used in that paragraph. Rather, we find the writer of Acts had been writing about Paul and his mission trip. He had been using the term ‘they’, but in verse 10 he writes: “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready...” Did you notice the change of pronoun from ‘they’ to ‘we’? Thus Luke must have joined the traveling party of Paul on this, his second missionary journey. After this Dr. Luke is often involved with Paul in ministry, and his use of ‘we’ and ‘they’ give us clues of the many times when they worked together.

Luke carefully gathered facts, observations and opinions from many of those who had walked and interacted with Jesus during His life. This included written matter as well as interviews.

Luke met and conversed with many figures of the New Testament. Although not one of the ‘twelve’ he came to know some of these people well. He was also a traveling companion of Paul for years. He had opportunity to gather information from many on a first-hand basis.

Luke’s methods were reliable from the historians viewpoint. He expended effort to verify accuracy of records. More than other New Testaments writers, Luke established dates by including mention of historical figures.

Luke’s name is used in only three New Testament passages and all of these are in Paul’s works.

In Colossians 4:14 Paul uses the term, “Luke, the beloved physician.” The language used by Luke in his writings speak about disease and healing in more detail; thus giving evidence to his medical background and interest.

Paul again refers to Luke as one of his fellow workers in Philemon 24.

Then in the letter of 2 Timothy, written shortly before Paul’s martyrdom, Paul gives a picture of Luke’s closeness and faithfulness to him as he writes, “Only Luke is with me.”

One of the important facts about Luke is that he was a Gentile convert. Jesus himself said in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” The message of the Gospel of Luke is to show Jesus as Savior of all men. He was to be, “a light to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Lk. 2:52)

Evidence of Luke’s Gentile nature abounds. One item is that Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam rather than to Abraham.

Secondly, Luke used several words which would be more familiar to the Gentile culture rather than the Jewish terms.

A third clue is that Luke’s quotes of Scripture are from the Greek translation rather than the Hebrew text.

Perhaps the clincher is Paul’s words in Colossians 4 (10-14). In his final greetings he lists a number of people with the notations that these are the only Jews among my fellow workers. Three verses later he says: “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings”; thus, separating them as Gentiles.

Both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were written by Dr. Luke to a Gentile named Theophilus, and ultimately to all people, that they might be assured that faith rests on a firm historical foundation.

May we all be blessed as we study Luke’s gospel.