Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
The book of Luke and the book of Acts seem clearly to have been written by the same author, are addressed to the same person, and bear the author’s name in the title.
Very little is known about him since few personal details are provided in the scriptures. According to tradition, Luke was a Gentile and a travelling companion of Paul. This seems to be confirmed by Paul in Colossians (4:11,14) where Luke is distinguished from those who were “of the circumcision.”
Nothing definite is known about his background or conversion, but both Eusebius and Jerome, church historians and scholars, identify him as being from Antioch. This could easily explain his association with Paul and his missionary journeys (Acts 13:13).
Some of the great church hymns are taken from the Gospel of Luke: The Ave Maria (1:28-33), The Magnificat (1:46-55), and The Gloria in Excelsis (2:13-14). We may not be familiar with them, but they are mighty works of praise to God.
This gospel greatly honors womanhood. They appear prominently in this narrative. In chapter one we find Mary and Elizabeth being exalted through the special blessing of the Lord and becoming mothers. Chapter ten reveals Mary, as well as her sister Martha, and their close relationship with Christ. The daughters of Jerusalem are addressed in 23:27, and several widows are mentioned throughout the gospel (2:37, 4:26, 7:12, 18:3, 21:2).
The biography of Christ is more complete in this gospel than any of the others. About one-half the material in this gospel is not found in the other writings.
Many of His most important utterances are found only in Luke. For example, Christ’s weeping over Jerusalem (19:41), the reference to the conversation with Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration (9:30-31) and the bloody sweat of Gethsemane (22:44) are in Luke only. Christ before Herod (23:8), the penitent thief on the cross (23:40) and the conversation on the road to Emmaus (24:13-31) are not recorded elsewhere.
There are also miracles that Luke recorded that others did not. The story of the draught of fishes (5:6) that brought Peter to his knees was only one miracle given that is unique to Luke’s account.
Others include the interruption of a funeral and raising to life again the son of a widow (7:11-15), the healing of ten lepers at one time (17:12), and the restoring of the ear to a man who had come to assist in the arrest of Jesus (22:51).