Each Gospel presents Jesus in a different way and we lose this uniqueness when we try to blend, mix, or create a general consensus. Their beauty lies in their difference. As a whole the four gospels present a total picture of Jesus but each inspires and challenges the reader in different ways. Matthew brings to us a Jesus who fulfills the Scripture through the authority of his words. Following the Jesus of Matthew means keeping his teachings and making other disciples. The Jesus of Mark, we find him to be misunderstood and abandoned. To follow Mark’s Jesus we must take up the cross and follow him. John’s Jesus is the word incarnate. He is the revealer, sent to make known God to us. It is a symphony of living water, the bread of life and taking our place within the community of “the children of God.” Luke presents us with a compassionate Jesus, one of deep concern for the outcasts. It seems that Luke’s Jesus tends to tell the story of God’s redemptive power while relating to the history of Israel, the scriptures and the contemporary world of his day. Jesus is sent to save the lost and for Israel there would be tragic consequences. The religious leaders reject Jesus and hand him over to be crucified but the people in general seem to survive the harsh judgement of history. Luke brings his Gospel to end with the disciples going forth with the good news and “the rest of the story” following in Acts.
I in the past have written other blogs with scripture verses from the book of Luke as the basis. I think one of the interesting things about this book is the author. First off, Luke is a Gentile. Luke is the only Gentile writer with a book included in the New Testament Bible. As to authorship there can be little doubt that Luke is the author. It was a custom of early writers to attach the name of a well known author or church person to increase the chance of it being accepted but Luke was never one of the famous persons of the early church. Luke wrote this Gospel and there is little chance that anyone one would have attached their name to it. We read in Colossians 4:14 he was medical doctor and it is often cited as the reason for his sympathy for all people, it gave him a gentle and caring spirit. As a doctor Luke truly saw people as they really were. Over time emblems have been assigned to the Gospel writers, interesting to note that the symbol of Luke is the calf. The calf was viewed as an animal of sacrifice and in Luke’s eye that was how he viewed Jesus….God’s instrument of sacrifice who broke down the barriers between Jew and Gentile, a Savior for all people, all the world. Luke wrote his Gospel mainly for the Gentiles. Luke is writing in one sense to most likely answer a request or question from Theophilus, he himself a gentile. Luke was a trusted companion of Paul and most likely knew or knew of all the great figures of the church. His was a life of walking through history and he was meticulous in his recording of it. He was careful in all he wrote and it is evident his careful research included the opportunities he had to ask questions of these figures. Luke very seldom quotes the Old Testament. Luke quite literally was writing not for the Jews but for people just like us.
Luke’s Gospel paints a picture of Jesus that gives us a side of Jesus that while noted in the other Gospels, comes to the forefront in Luke’s writings. Luke’s Gospel puts forth the picture of a praying Jesus…at the moments of great stress or challenges we see Christ at prayer. Luke believed that to open the door to prayer was a powerful thing. Luke was a native of Macedonia where women were respected more than anyplace else. It comes across in his writings about Mary, Martha and of Mary Magdalene. With Luke it was a praise thing and here in Luke’s book the phrase praising God occurs more often than all the rest of the New Testament put together. There is Mary’s song of praise Luke 1: 46-55, The Benedictus 1:68-79 and the Nunc Dimittis 2:29-32. But there is yet the wonder of the Gospel, the Universal Gospel; the Gospel of no barriers, the Gospel for all people.
These are just a few of the wonders of this beautiful book. In the DBS, Barclay takes note of this written by F.W. Faber….
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in his justice,
Which is more than liberty.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measures of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
A good summation of Luke, The Book Beautiful.
Life is Good