– Did you have to write any essay papers in high school or college? First, you had to read a book, or several of them for research. This was time consuming, especially if you do not enjoy reading. Second, you had to outline your paper. I had to learn the hard way that you cannot just start writing, otherwise your paper will stray in too many directions without a focused point and purpose. The third phase was hardest as it was the actual writing (I cannot imagine the days of hardship if you actually had to write with pen & paper or even typing on a typewriter…yikes!) of the paper. Getting started and sustaining motivation to complete the assignment was always a challenge for me. And last, is remembering to review and proofread to be sure your writing makes sense and communicates what you intended. Once completed you had a sense of…
- Accomplishment and presentation of your work
- Credibility of specific knowledge base
The Biblical author Luke undertook a similar process when he wrote Luke’s Gospel. This message will explore an introduction to Luke’s Gospel and specifically to Jesus Christ by offering 3 statements of significance.
– There are 4 different Gospels, which all record an account of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They contain approximately 60% of the same material but each has his own unique perspective and intention for writing. Matthew was written to a Jewish audience; Mark to a Roman audience; John to a Greek audience and Luke to a Gentile audience. They are sorta like today’s news: ABC, NBC, CBS and then BBC!
– Libraries are filled with writings about Jesus.
– Luke 1:1-4 “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”
There was a significant historical happening.
Luke was an ordinary man. His name is Gentile, meaning he likely did not grow up going toTempleand observance of Old Testament law would be uncommon to him. Even further, expectancy of understanding of the Jewish Messiah would also be foreign to him.
– Like any other unbeliever today w/o knowledge or understanding about things of God, church or Bible.
– YET, Luke has carefully investigated the events and truths and became a convinced believer of Jesus.
Luke is mentioned 3x in the NT
Colossians 4:14 “Luke the beloved physician” – He was a recommended doctor
2Timothy 4:11 “Luke alone is with [Paul]” – He was a faithful friend
Philemon 1:24 “Luke, my fellow worker” – He was laboring partner in ministry
Luke writes among the other compiled narrative of things that have been accomplished [fulfilled]. The point to make is 1) Something historically significant happened that many wrote about it. 2) The events did not merely just happen but they were literally fulfillments of things to happen. Luke’s perspective was shaped by God’s work in all of history. The Gospels, show how Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises in Old Testament writings.
Luke 18:31 “everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished”
Luke 22:37 “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me…For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
Luke 24:27, 44, 48 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself…Jesus said, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled… You are witnesses of these things.”
Luke is the longest book in the New Testament with 1,151 verses (586 of which contain words of Christ) compared to 1,071 verses in Matthew, 678 in Mark, and 869 in John. Obviously, Luke’s intention is to communicate to the fullest concerning Jesus. Even more, Luke contains forty-one unique passages that are not found in Matthew or Mark. These unique passages are listed here.
1. Infancy narratives 1:1-2:52 21. The parable of the lost coin 15:8–10
2. Jesus’ genealogy 3:23–38 22. The parable of the prodigal son 15:11–32
3. A miraculous catch of fish 5:1–11 23. The parable of the unjust steward 16:1–9
4. The anointing of Jesus by a sinful woman 7:36–50 24. The covetous Pharisees 16:14–15
5. Women who helped Jesus 8:1–3 25. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus 16:19–31
6. Rejection by the Samaritans 9:51–56 26. Unprofitable servants 17:7–10
7. The mission of the seventy 10:17–20 27. The ten lepers 17:11–19
8. The parable of the good Samaritan 10:25–37 28. The parable of the unjust judge 18:1–8
9. Martha and Mary 10:38–42 29. The parable of Pharisee and publican 18:9–14
10. The parable of the friend at midnight 11:5–8 30. Zaccheus 19:1–10
11. True blessedness 11:27–28 31. The parable of pounds (sim. Mat.25:14-30) 19:11–27
12. True cleansing 11:37–41 32. Lament overJerusalem19:41–44
13. The parable of the rich fool 12:13–21 33. Teaching in theTemple21:37–38
14. Repentance 13:1–5 34. Two swords 22:35–38
15. The barren fig tree 13:6–9 35. Jesus before Herod 23:6–12
16. Healing a bent woman 13:10–17 36. Daughters ofJerusalem23:27–31
17. Who are in the kingdom? 13:22–30 37. Peter at the tomb 24:12
18. That fox Herod 13:31–33 38. The walk to Emmaus 24:13–35
19. The man with dropsy 14:1–6 39. The appearance to the disciples 24:36–43
20. Invitation to a banquet 14::7–14 40. The fulfillment of Scripture 24:44–49
41. The ascension 24:50–53
David Wenham provides a helpful summary of the unique parts of Luke’s gospel:
Luke tells quite a number of his own, unique stories, totaling 22–40% of his book, including his infancy narratives (chapters 1–2), his version of Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth (4:14–30), many parables (e.g. 15:1–16:9; 16:19–31; 17:7–10; 18:1–14), some healing stories (e.g. 7:11–17; 17:11–19), the encounter with Zacchaeus (19:1–10), elements of his crucifixion scene (23:1–16, 24f., 27–31, 39–43, 48, 51), and his resurrection narrative (chapter 24).
Jesus’ life was a defining moment in history. We all have defining moments that are forever etched in our memory…(JFK assassination, Elvis’ death, MLK speech, 9/11 & Bush, Obama inauguration, etc.). When there is a moment in life that is defining for you then it is your obligation to put it on display for others to see, hear and know.
– Illus: Tim Tebow, football player is criticized because he speaks continually about Christ. Recently, a former player Jame Plummer said, “I don’t hate [Tebow because of his faith…], I just would rather not have to hear [about his faith] every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.” Tebow’s response was:
“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife, I love her, the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ,” Tebow said. “It is the most important thing in my life, so every opportunity I have to tell him I love him, or I’m given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m going to take that opportunity.” “I look at it as a relationship I have with him, I want to give him the honor and glory every time I get the opportunity,” Tebow said. “And then after I give him the honor and glory I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory, and that’s how it works. Because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake’s opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner, but I feel like every time I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise he is due for it because what he did for me, and what he did on the cross for all of us. I really appreciate his opinion and I respect him, but I still will give all the honor and glory to the Lord because he deserves it.”
ð Does your life communicate that there was a significant historical happening of Jesus Christ entering the world and impacting your life today?
- Johnny Hunt “I’ve never gotten over being saved.” Have you?
There were a significant number of eyewitnesses.
Luke is writing to a “most excellent Theophilus”. The man’s name means “lover/friend of God”. The title, “most excellent” reveals that he was some sort of Roman government official (cf. Acts 24:3; 26:25). It would seem he was a prominent, wealthy individual who is seeking the truth about Jesus. Therefore, he was likely the benefactor for Luke to travel on a truth quest about Jesus. Theo’s generosity gave cause for a significant portion of our NT.
ð Are you generous to the cause of God’s kingdom?
Luke explains his process for writing his Gospel. To note, Luke’s formal education and personal research among eyewitnesses indicates his credentials as a historian; not to mention he’s working for a Roman official that if his information is bias or not truthful he would pay the consequence.
1) Compiled narratives: Luke used other written sources as background/reference material for his writing. This was likely the Gospel of Mark and perhaps Matthew. And very well could have used some of Paul’s writings.
2) Original eyewitness testimony: Luke interviewed the Apostles and other who had firsthand encounters with Jesus… relatives, miracles, healings, etc.
3) Ministers of the word have delivered to us: Luke is referring to the oral tradition (teachings, parables, writings, etc.) passed down to each generation. Only 30 years have passed and among an illiterate society this oral tradition was very close to the experiences and would have been viewed as accurate.
Luke writes in Acts that the Apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus and were commissioned as His glocal (local & global) witnesses (Acts 1:8; 2:22, 32; 4:13; 5:32).
1Corinthians 15:5 Paul says that Jesus appeared to more than 500, most of whom were still alive… many of these were likely interviewed by Luke.
1John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life”
Illus: A person can tell you about the Grand Canyon in AZ, orNiagara Falls in NY/Can or any other place; A person can tell you about the existence of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln but they can only do so accurately IF THEY HAVE PERSONAL EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY. This is the basis for the Gospels and all the NT.
2Peter 1:16 “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty”
ð Believe the truth of the Word.
ð Read Luke every month in 2012. 24 chapters so you have some “skip days”. If you take challenge you will read 12+ times and become intimately more familiar with the Jesus of the Bible – not of pop culture!
There is a significant certainty of truth.
Luke writes to Theopilus with a purpose – that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. It would seem Theophilus was a new believer and had been taught about Jesus. But, maybe he had some doubts or questions and needed verified. So, Luke writes to build his confidence.
ð Grow Spiritually.
- Search the truth of Scripture to gain confidence. New & seasoned believers, don’t be spiritually lazy! Like a newborn infant does not need to be told when to eat physically, so a newborn believer should eagerly crave to eat spiritually.
1Peter 2:2 “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation”
- Connect with a Bible Group. If you are not in a group learning the Bible and allowing it to shape your life, there is something wrong with your spiritual growth. God has called believers to be a part of His body and be devoted to such things for LOVING GOD AND LOVING OTHERS (Acts 2:42 ff.)
Luke’s ultimate goal of writing his Gospel was for people to encounter Jesus – the Living Lord Jesus (Luke 24:36-49)! We are reminded Jesus entered this world to die – to show us His hands and feet that we might touch them in the Scriptures and believe in Him so that our sins may be forgiven and our souls will be united with His Spirit.
Are you trusting Jesus for salvation?
If you are doubting, is it because you have not sincerely searched the Scriptures yourself?
µ Driscoll, Mark. Luke’s Gospel: Investigating The Man Who Is God. PDF accessed at http://marshill.com/media/luke/
µ Stein, R. H. (2001, c1992). Vol. 24: Luke (electronic ed.). The New American Commentary (36).
µ Morris, L. (1988). Vol. 3: Luke: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (83).
 This likely means he was formally educated and used his education, intellect and resources for the cause of Jesus. Also ironic to note are modern believers’ adverse to doctors because God heals as in the Gospels; yet the writer of one Gospel was a doctor.
 The material for this table is adapted from Leon Morris, Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973/2008), 377–382.
 David Wenham and Steve Walton, Exploring the New Testament: A Guide to the Gospels & Acts. pp.238-239.