As the “dog days of summer” come to a close, I know that you join me in looking forward to September and the fall. Fall is most definitely my favorite time of the year. And this year, the fall will be even better because we will be studying the Gospel of Luke. This is exciting to me for several reasons. First, we can never go wrong when we are studying a book that focuses on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Second, this Gospel is especially profound because of its author, a man named Luke. Luke is another one of my all-time favorite bible characters. Here’s why:
First, as Ryan clearly explained in his recent sermon, Luke presents his work with such a gracious humility. In fact, he refuses to mention that he is the author of the book which was very unusual for the New Testament era. Therefore, the book is technically anonymous. Luke not only conceals his name, but also his appearance, family, occupation, and other biographical details. So how do we know Luke wrote the Gospel? We know because virtually all of the church fathers agreed that Luke was the author of this Gospel and its sequel, the book of Acts. We also know things about Luke from the Apostle Paul. Paul reveals that Luke was a doctor and a very close friend of his who was with him for various parts of the missionary journeys. These are the journeys that he so eloquently wrote about in the book of Acts.
Furthermore, as Ryan also noted, Luke was thought to be from Antioch and a product of the church of Antioch. You may remember that I recently preached about this church which I believe became the leading church in the New Testament. Why? Because of their passion for missions. So, being from Antioch, Luke grew up with a missional heart, mindset, and lifestyle. That’s why his passion for missions is so evident in his writing.
So, what else can we say about Luke? An internal investigation of Luke’s writing reveals that he was a masterful historian. Luke was also skilled at Greco-Roman rhetoric, and he could comfortably navigate both Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds. In fact, Luke was well-traveled, cosmopolitan, and most likely a Hellensitic God-fearer first attracted to Christianity by his admiration of Jewish morals and values. In short, Luke makes the perfect candidate to write about the life of his Lord (the Gospel of Luke) and an accurate history of early Christianity (the book of Acts).
If you put Luke and Acts together, which you should, you actually have what many consider to have been the very first New Testament. It’s clear that these two books have made an enormous impact on the kingdom of God. I hope you will join me in enjoying a “deep dive” study of them as we explore Luke in the fall and Acts in the spring and summer. May God richly bless the study of his word.