JANUARY 14, 2022
9 - Our January Journey with Jesus:
A New Testament Overview
The Gospel of Luke
Welcome to unit 9 of an overview of the entire New Testament.
(Please note my closing comments at the very end…)
Basic Background Information on the Gospel of Luke:
Author: Luke. He was a Physician, well educated, and often emphasized the healing miracles of Jesus. Luke was not one of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus, but some scholars think he relied on Peter and Mary and other eyewitness accounts as God guided him to write his Gospel.
Date Written: c. 60 AD. Luke followed Paul from his second missionary journey until Paul’s house arrest in Rome mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:11. Tradition says that Paul was martyred during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero between 64-68 A.D. Thus, Luke was likely wrtten before this.
Where Written: Perhaps in Rome.
Intended Audience: Luke addresses his Gospel to “most excellent Theophilus”(Lk. 1:3). The Good News and story of Jesus in Luke is presented as God’s gift to ALL humanity (Jews and Gentiles).
Luke and Acts are two volumes that go tother BOTH written by Luke and addressed to the same dignitary named Theophilus (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1). The name Theophilus in Greek means: THEO (God) + PHILOS (FRIEND/LOVER) = “Lover or Friend of God.” Theophilus may have been a wealthy patron or sponsor of Luke who God used to support or underwrite some of Luke’s writing, ministry efforts, and living expenses.
Some Themes in Luke: One of the major themes that permeates the pages of Luke’s Gospel is summarized in Luke 19:10, where Jesus says:
”For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
+ Luke often uses the title “Son of Man” (see Luke 5:24, 6:22, 9:58, 12:10) to describe Jesus. The title “Son of Man” (versus “Son of God” mostly used in Matthew to describe Jesus) magnifies another fulfillment of God’s ancient prediction and promises and comes from a vision of the Old Testament Prophet Daniel 7:13-14 and refers to and foretells the Divine nature of the coming Messiah.
+ Luke often refers to the activities and messages of God’s ANGELS (for example, angels are mentioned in Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9, 13; 9:28-36; 22:43; 24:15-31). Luke records the name of the angel Gabriel who appears to Zechariah in Luke 1:19 telling him his wife Elizabeth would give birth. Gabriel also appears in a greeting announcing to the virgin Mary in Luke 1:26-38 she would bear a son and call His name Jesus. Gabriel also appears in Daniel 8:16 & 9:21. The only other angel named in Scripture is Michael in Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7.
+ Luke’s Unique Family Tree: Luke provides a comprehensive and fascinating family tree or genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38. He begins with Joseph and traces the family line of Jesus back to Adam. To compare, Matthew traces Christ’s family line in the opposite direction. Matthew lists the genealogy of Jesus in chapter 1 starting with Abraham (which would especially resonate with a Jewish audience) and tracing it forward to Joseph.
+ More pages of the New Testament were written down by Luke than any other writer. Paul authored 13 books (Epistles or letters) of the New Testament, but Luke authored the most total Biblical material--24 chapters of Gospel of Luke (Volume 1) and the 28 detailed chapters of Acts (Volume 2; which shares the history of the early Church and the work of the Holy Spirit spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth).
+ Luke Provides Unique Songs we Often Sing in various canticles throughout the Liturgy. For example:
Luke 1:46-55 The Magnificat of Mary (“My Soul magnifies the Lord…”)
Luke 1:67-80 The Benedictus of Zechariah (“Benedictus” in Latin is “Blessed”; see Lutheran Service Book pp. 238-40)
Luke 2:10-14 The Gloria in Excelsis (“Glory to God in the highest..”)
Luke 2:29-32 The Nunc Dimittis or Song of Simeon (“Lord, Let Thy servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen Thy salvation.”)
Outline: Luke is the longest of the 3 Synoptic Gospels (24 chapters).
Luke 1-4 - Introduction; Details of Christ’s birth and early life
and preparation for Ministry
Luke 4:14-9:50 - Ministry of Jesus in area of Galilee (northern Israel)
Luke 9:51-19:27 - Ministry of Jesus on His way to Jerusalem
Luke 19:28-chapter 24 - Jesus in Jerusalem (Triumphal entry, Last Supper, Gethsemene, Arrest; trial before Pilate and Herod)
Luke 22-23 - The Suffering, Crucifixion, and Death of Christ
Luke 24 - The Resurrection of Christ (24:1-49) and His Ascension (24:50-53)
NOTE: Luke has the most sophisticated writing style and complex grammar of any of the Gospels.
FYI from Pastor Schmieding: I can read John in the original Greek fairly easily and well, but I really struggle to read Luke in Greek. Both Luke and Paul’s Greek vocabulary and grammar are very advanced and complicated.
Example of an OT/NT Connection in Luke:
In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus highlights His Ministry as the specific and direct fulfillment of God’s ancient prediction from Isaiah 60:1-2. We marvel at the details of this dramatic event recorded in Luke 4:
16 And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Examples of Material Unique to Luke NOT Found in the Other 3 Gospels:
- Luke has the most unique material of any of the other Gospels.
- Luke records the Magnificat or “Song of Mary.”
- Of the four Gospels, Luke has the most detailed information (by far) on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.
- Only Luke includes the story of the adolescent (13 year old) Jesus teaching in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52).
- Luke records the highest number of parables of Jesus (28) in any of the Gospels.
- The parable of The Lost or Prodigal Son is unique to Luke 15:11-32.
- The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
- Jesus heals and cleanses Ten Lepers and only one returns to give thanks (Luke 17:11-19).
- Jesus and Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.
- The account of the repentant thief crucified next to Christ at Calvary is unique to Luke 23:39-43.
- Luke describes the Ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and in Acts 1 (Luke’s “Volume Two”).
- Luke records the post-resurrection appearance of the risen Jesus on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
NOTE: The dozen items above are just some of the familiar examples of what is unique to Luke’s Gospel. Luke also has many more unique parables, passages, miracles, and stories of the life and Ministry of Jesus.
A Personal Devotional Exercise in Luke:
> Read and reflect on Luke 17:11-19. This reading is unique to Luke and is the appointed Gospel for Thanksgiving.
For what do I especially thank God?
What are some specific ways I express my thanks to Jesus?
Personal Application of the Gospel of Luke:
> Read Luke 10:38-42 -- As I reflect on my everyday life, how often am I living more like busy-body Martha focused on trivial, mundane matters? When am I more like Mary who focused on listening to Jesus?
PRAYER: Dear God, we praise You for the Gospel of Luke and the message of Your angels assuring us that we have nothing to fear in life or in death. Thank You for Your Good News of great joy that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and is our Savior from sin, sickness, Satan and death. Strenthen our faith in Your promises and give us the peace and joy of Jesus. Amen
Pastor Scott Schmieding
Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
115 S. Sixth Street
Saint Charles, MO 63301
P.S. Personal, Closing Comment: Yes, I’m behind a few days on our New Testament overview. I’m sorry, and I apologize. There are a few reasons: Having a harsh case of covid set me back, we have had several deaths at Immanuel the past two weeks (2 and perhaps 3 of our member deaths - waiting on an autopsy - were from Covid), and we have experienced LARGE numbers of covid and a variety of other (at times serious) seasonal sickness at our school the past two weeks - we had 72 kids out sick Monday, 83 out Tuesday and 132 out sick or just staying away Wednesday. Because of this massive outbreak of various sicknesses in our students, staff and families, we decided to close a couple days for an extended weekend as we pray for a health reset. Many staff were and are also sick. We had to get subs for our subs at times, and we ran out of subs Wednesday. Our Immanuel Lutheran School administrators (Mr. Huster and Mrs. Timmerman) and our teachers and entire staff in the Church and School are dedicated and brave and incredible servants. They needed an extended weekend to rest and recover and heal. Thanks for your prayers and understanding. We are living in wild, crazy times, but our faith remains focused on our Savior, Jesus, and we always live with hope, faith, and joy as His baptized and forgiven children.