Surprisingly, little is known about the man who wrote a quarter of the New Testament. What is known is that Luke brought his own unique set of skills to bear – including his expertise as a doctor and his sharp eye for detail – in writing an account of the life of Jesus and the early church.
Luke the Evangelist is 1 of the 4 Evangelists – the 4 authors of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, John). Luke was a native of the Hellenistic city of Antioch in Syria. He authored both the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts of the Apostles, which originally formed a single literary work, referred to as Luke-Acts.
The composition of the writings, as well as the range of vocabulary used, indicate that the author was an educated man. It seems Luke was a Gentile. If this were true, it would make Luke the only writer of the New Testament who can clearly be identified as not being Jewish.
Luke was not an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry. At the beginning of his Gospel, he described himself as a researcher who “carefully investigated everything” (Luke 1:3).
Luke was friends with the apostle Paul. Beginning with Paul’s 2nd missionary journey, the 2 men became traveling companions… indicated off and on by the pronoun “we”. As such, Luke witnessed firsthand many of the incidents recorded in the book of Acts. He may have suffered imprisonment and persecution alongside Paul. He was there with Paul when a ship bound for Crete broke apart, nearly drowning everyone on board. Some believe he put his medical training to use quite often, such as when Paul was bitten by a snake on the island of Malta. In fact, it was probably an occasion of providing medical treatment in which Luke met Paul.
Luke was part doctor, part historian, part adventurer – but most of all, he was a dedicated, articulate, compelling advocate for the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Luke approached his writing of his Gospel with the same care that he approached his practice of medicine.
He served God with excellence in every part of his life. Do you?
Consider the man who spends hours preparing a report for work, but only 30 minutes preparing his Sunday school lesson. Consider the woman who wouldn’t dream of skipping her weekly “hair appointment”, but is “just too tired” or “too busy” to get to church many Sundays. What kind of priorities are these?
If we are going to serve God – whether through writing as Luke did, leading a small group, teaching a class, volunteering to keep the church building clean, or working in the nursery – we need to serve with excellence.
* God is worthy of the best we have to offer.
Luke became a disciple of Paul and later followed Paul until his (Paul’s) martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years.
You can read Luke’s style reflected in the Gospel that bears his name; his story reflected in the book of Acts; but, in particular, in Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1; 16-28; Colossians 4:14; 2Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24.