January: Matthew 1; Luke 1
The only things we know about Luke come from the Bible. None of the other historical writings of the day such as Josephus, Tacitus, or Pliny have any additional information about him. So here is what we know:
- He was a physician (Colossians 4:14)
- He was a missionary companion to Paul (Acts 16:10-11; 2 Timothy 4:11)
- He probably wasn’t a Jew (In Colossians 4:10-11 he wasn’t mentioned among the circumcised but was there.)
- He joined the church after Christ had ascended into heaven.
As a result of never seeing the Savior, Luke gathered the accounts of many eyewitnesses who interacted with the Lord and others who heard his teachings (Luke 1:2). As a result, he was able to include various personal accounts and recorded many parables that had been left out from Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels, both probably completed before his own.
When I was a teenager, I remember reading the Christmas story and came across Luke 2:19, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” I thought it was nice that she thought about the miracle of Christ’s birth, but little did I know the other meaning of that verse. When we read the nativity story in Luke, it is Mary’s account from her own mouth. That’s why we have Mary’s song and the words of Elizabeth. Another of my favorite stories is the road to Emmaus. I imagine Luke talking to Cleopas about his face-to-face encounter with the resurrected Lord and not recognizing him until his eyes were open as Christ took bread and blessed it and gave it to them. The great song “Abide with Me” comes from that experience, begging the Savior to commune with us longer. (Luke 24:13-35)
Other parables and teaching included only in Luke are Jesus as a boy in the temple, the Good Samaritan, the Ten Virgins, the Prodigal’s Son, and the Ten Lepers. Also, Luke includes more details about the teachings of John the Baptist, Christ praying before performing acts multiple times, and the calling and training of the seventy.
Most significantly, Luke begins and ends in the temple. He begins his gospel with the story of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, serving in the temple and being visited by the angel Gabriel. Most beautifully, he ends by speaking of those that saw Christ’s ascension and says, “And [they] were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Oh, that each of us, especially me, could be more like Luke. Not that we get a medical degree, but that we listen to the accounts of those who have had spiritual experiences with the Lord. That we, like Luke, record and remember the teachings of the prophets. And, like Luke, we love the temple and make it a focus of our lives.