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Faithlife

According to St Luke

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The gospel according to St. Luke has been called the loveliest book in the world.  

Luke was a gentile; and he has the unique distinction of being the only New Testament writer who was not a Jew. He was a doctor by profession (Colossians 4:14) and maybe that very fact gave him the wide sympathy he possessed. The book was written to a man called Theophilus.

The symbol of Luke is the calf. The calf is the animal for sacrifice; and Luke saw in Jesus the sacrifice for all the world. In Luke above all, the barriers are broken down and Jesus is for Jew and gentile, saint and sinner alike. For Luke Jesus is the saviour of the world.

An Historian’s Care

He claims that his work is the product of the most careful research. As the trusted companion of Paul he must have known all the great figures of the church, and we may be sure that he had them tell their stories to him. For two years he was Paul’s companion in imprisonment in Caesarea. In those long days he had every opportunity for study and research and he must have used them well.

An example of Luke’s care is the way in which he dates the emergence of John the Baptist. He does so by no fewer than six contemporary datings. “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (1), Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea (2), Herod being tetrarch of Galilee (3), and his brother Philip being tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis (4), and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene (5) in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas (6), the word of God came to John” (Luke 3:1, 2). Here is a man who is writing with care and who will be as accurate as it is possible for him to be.

The Gospel of Prayer

Luke’s gospel is specially the gospel of prayer. Jesus prays at every moment of his life.

The Gospel of Women

In Palestine the place of women was low. In the Jewish morning prayer a man thanks God that he has not made him “a gentile, a slave or a woman.” But Luke gives a very special place to women. The birth narrative is told from Mary’s point of view. It is in Luke that we read of Elizabeth, of Anna, of the widow at Nain, of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. It is Luke who makes vivid the pictures of Martha and Mary and of Mary Magdalene.

The Gospel of Women

In Palestine the place of women was low. In the Jewish morning prayer a man thanks God that he has not made him “a gentile, a slave or a woman.” But Luke gives a very special place to women. The birth narrative is told from Mary’s point of view. It is in Luke that we read of Elizabeth, of Anna, of the widow at Nain, of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. It is Luke who makes vivid the pictures of Martha and Mary and of Mary Magdalene. It is very likely that Luke was a native of Macedonia where women held a more emancipated position than anywhere else; and that may have something to do with it.

The Gospel of Praise

In Luke the phrase praising God occurs oftener than in all the rest of the New Testament put together. This praise reaches its peak in the three great hymns that the church has sung throughout all her generationsthe Magnificat, the Benedictus the Nunc Dimittis .

 

The Universal Gospel

But the outstanding characteristic of Luke is that it is the universal gospel. All the barriers are down; The kingdom of heaven is open to the Samaritans, the Gentiles, the poor, outcasts and sinners.

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