It’s been called, “the loveliest book in the world.”
Paul calls Luke the “beloved physician” (Col. 4:14).
Luke was a Gentile. The only New Testament writer who was not Jewish.
Travelling companion of Paul. With him during his second Roman imprisonment – “only Luke is with me” (II Tim. 4:11).
Luke would have likely met the Apostles & most other Early Church leaders.
Luke also wrote the Book of Acts. Luke & Acts comprise 28% of the NT.
This makes Luke the most prolific NT writer (Paul = 2,033 verses, Luke = 2,138).
To Theophilus (“friend of God”)
“Most Excellent” Theophilus suggests wealth, royalty or most likely a high Roman official. He may have been the publisher of the book, financing its copying and distribution for the early church.
Purpose of the Book
“To write for you an orderly account . . . so that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (1:3-4)
He may have had a secondary purpose – to demonstrate that Christianity was not a politically subversive sect. He records Pilate’s statements about Jesus’ innocence three times (23:4, 14, 22).
Characteristics of the Gospel of Luke
- The finest Greek in the NT. Literary richness and beauty. Large vocabulary.
- Careful observations & details. Ex. Dates John the Baptist with 6 other dates.
- Written mainly for Gentiles – very few OT quotes (cf Matthew), traces Jesus’ lineage back to Adam, instead of Abraham.
Prayer – Luke shows Jesus praying numerous times, also gives us two parables about prayer, the Friend at Midnight (11:5-13) & the Unjust Judge (18:1-8).
Prominence of Women – tells the Christmas story from Mary’s perspective; we read of Elizabeth, Anna, the widow at Nain, the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, Mary & Martha, and Mary Magdalene.
Praise – 4 hymns or poems are included – Mary, Zacharias, the Angels, Simeon
A Gospel for All People – Samaritans, Gentiles, the Poor, Outcasts & “Sinners.”
Below is manuscript P75, from the second century showing the end of Luke and the beginning of John. These say clearly in Greek, “Gospel according to Luke” and “Gospel according to John.”
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the wealth that will belong to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant region, and there he squandered his wealth in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that region, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that region, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, and no one gave him anything.
But when he came to his senses he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’
So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate, for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son – Luke 15
Pastor Rich Knight
Central Congregational Church, UCC
October 22, 2023
Note the Shepherd’s and therefore God’s Attentiveness – he notices that 1 sheep is missing. God knows you by name!
Shepherds were looked down upon.
- Jesus elevates them by making 1 hero of the story.
- “God is like that Shepherd!” “Really?”
Also shows Everyone is welcome at Jesus’ table.
Lost Coin – You’re precious to God, like a valuable silver coin.
God’s Perseverance – she keep looking and kept looking. God will keep trying to get your attention. God doesn’t give up after trying just once.
“God is like that Woman!” “What? God is like a woman?!! Oh My!”
The Dad’s longing for his son. He kept looking down the lane, and then finally sees him while he’s far off.
God looking and waiting for us to come home.
Sometimes I hear people say, “I shouldn’t bother God with my prayers.”
Listen, God is not bothered by your prayers! God feels Joy when you pray!
Each parable ends in Joy – The Shepherd & the Woman have to tell all their friends. The Father throws a huge party when his son returns.
When you turn your heart to God – you bring God Joy!
Think about it.
Then, bring God Joy!