The Forum

The Forum


Dear Brother,

Why, in Matthew 10:1-6, where Jesus calls His 12 disciples to Him and sends them out, is not Luke mentioned? Could it be possible that any of the men mentioned there was Luke under another name? Could it have been that one of these 12 dropped out later and Luke have taken his place?

The 12 were told to go only to the lost sheep of Israel, but Luke was very intimately linked with Paul all through Acts.

While this is not a fundamentally vital question, still it puzzles me and I would be very glad to have an answer if possible.

R. C. S.

Dear Brother:

The April issue of FOOD FOR THE FLOCK was delivered yesterday and I have been reading its messages with interest. In his letter to the Forum, R.C.S. asked why Luke is not mentioned in Matt. 10:1-6 where Jesus called His twelve disciples.

Evidently this reader has a mistaken idea that Luke was one of the twelve, but a careful reading of the New Testament will show that he is never included in the list of Apostles. Furthermore, Luke is introduced to us only after Paul began his missionary travels. In Luke’s writing of The Acts, he uses the third person in describing the actions and activities of the disciples — “they, them”. When Paul set out from Troas, however, he must have taken Luke with him (Acts 16:11), for the writer from that point on uses the pronoun “we”, as though he were himself one of the party.

To further support the argument that Luke was not a Jew but a Greek, he is referred to as the “beloved physician”. Generally speaking, the Greeks were noted for their scientific knowledge and it is recognized that they laid the foundation for medical science as it is practised today. Previously the sick were treated by witchcraft or superstition. The Romans were the leaders in political knowledge and advancement, while the Jewish forte was religious knowledge.

I would also point out the contrast between the style of John and Luke in their writings in the Gospels. John speaks as one who had seen and heard, one who was an eye-witness; e.g. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Luke, on the other hand, gives “a declaration of those things most surely believed among us” (Luke 1:1). Under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, he sets in order the events of which those who were eye-witnesses had given testimony. Luke himself, obviously, had not been with the Lord Jesus during the time of His public ministry, but had received and believed the testimony of others.


My dear Brother, Thank you for your letter.

In reply would call your attention to the fact that in Matthew 10:1-6, Christ is calling and commissioning His 12 Apostles (V. 2). Luke was not an apostle in the specific sense. No, he does not appear in this list under another name.

Luke, in all probability, was a Gentile, and first appears in Bibical history as a matured man, a physician. His earliest contacts with Christianity which are left on record began at Troas (Acts 16:6-11).

It has been suggested that the man seen by Paul in the vision was none other than Luke, saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” If this assumption is correct, then Luke was a Christian before this event, and was serving the Lord in Macedonia, but felt the need of the help and the presence of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul.

Luke is mentioned by name only three times in the New Testament (Col. 4:14, 2 Tim. 4:11, Philm. 24). Nevertheless, he is the author of the Gospel that bears his name and of the Book of the Acts. Such was his humility that he hid himself in these two great historical records, the history of the Christ and the history of the early Church. Little wonder that Paul called him, Luke the beloved physician.

Sincerely in Christ.
J. G