Luke, the “beloved Physician,” is the writer. He was a Greek - a Gentile. The first mention of him is in Acts 16:10. “We” endeavored to go into Macedonia. He is mentioned three times in the following Scripture references: Colossians 4:14, Philemon 2:4, and 2 Timothy 4:11. Luke also wrote the book of Acts.
The Date and Recipients
The book of Luke was written around A.D. 60. This makes it the third gospel to be written. It was addressed to Theophilus in the former treatise (see Acts 1:1) — nothing is known of this brother. Internal evidence also reveals that it was written for Gentiles, and in particular, the Greeks. They were the philosophers, the thinkers. They had long sought after the “perfect man.” Luke’s work was designed to fulfill that quest. Luke takes time to explain Jewish customs and sometimes substitutes Greek names for Hebrew ones.
Key word: Son of man
Key verse: Luke 23:47 “Truly this was a righteous man.”
The purpose of writing is clearly defined in the first four verses. Luke 1:4 reveals the major purpose, which is “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” In Ezekiel’s vision, the third creature had the face of a man. In the third gospel, the Gospel of Luke, Christ is presented as the “Son of man.” The Greeks made their gods in the likeness of men. Luke presents deity in the likeness of man. This, then, is really “the Gospel of the Son of man.” Matthew, who presented “Christ as King” to the Jews, traced His genealogy to Abraham, via David. In other words, he showed the “royal line.” Luke traces the genealogy right back to Adam, setting Him forth as the Son of man. As such, He becomes more than the King of Israel. He becomes a Savior to all men (see Luke 2:10-11). There are thirty or more parables, sayings, and incidents in Luke unrecorded by the other three gospel writers. [Ecco Homo “Behold the man” - Ecco Deus “Behold your God”]
Luke humanized the Lord and yet preserved His deity as no other writer did. Luke alone tells us that the babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes and that the child grew. He was subject to his parents. He was brought up with them. Luke is endeavoring to show that the Lord was made in the likeness of man. He fully tasted of humanity, joining Himself to us in birth, in childhood, and in youth. In doing so (that is, in being a very man), He might, in His own blessed person, bring man near to God. John, in his gospel reveals the Divine-Human One. Luke, in his gospel reveals the Human-Divine One.
Let us consider further the Manhood of the Master. Luke presents Him more frequently at prayer than do the other evangelists:
Prayer at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
Prayer after a crowded day (Luke 4:42)
Prayer as an escape from popularity (Luke 5:15-16)
Prayer with His own (Luke 9:18-31)
Prayer on the Mount (Luke 9:29)
Prayer after success (Luke 10:21)
Prayer as a habit (Luke 11:1)
Prayer for a backsliding disciple (Luke 22:31-32)
Prayer in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)
Prayer from the Cross (Luke 23:34-46)
Luke 18:1 says, “Men ought always to pray.” Luke contrasts the Perfect Man very severely with all other men, whose spiritual ruin he depicted in narratives and parables peculiar to his gospel. All of the following examples illustrate man’s ruin: (1) The good Samaritan, (2) The rich man and Lazarus, (3) The prodigal son, and (4) The penitent thief. The priesthood of Christ is based upon His manhood. Read Hebrews 2:17-18 and Hebrews 4:14-16. Notice the description of Moses and Aaron.
Luke beautifully links the manhood and priesthood of our Lord in his gospel. See below:
1. Luke 1-3: The Man, “made like unto His brethren.” He is one with us in our descent from Adam. He is one with those who confessed their sins and were baptized.
2. Luke 4:1-13: The Man, tempted as we are.
3. Luke 4:14-19:27: Here we see the Man touched with the feeling of our infirmities, the Man of cosmopolitan interest, the Man full of sympathy, the Man of prayer, and the Man tempted in all points, yet sin apart.
4. Luke 19:28-23:56: This passage shows us the Man, perfect through sufferings.
“I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (see Luke 13:32).
5. Luke 24: The Man, in resurrection and ascension. He is still a man after His suffering. He talked, He ate, and He walked with His disciples. As a Man, He ascended into Heaven. Hebrews 4:14 says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”
Finally, please note His dependence on prayer, His need of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:35, Luke 3:22, Luke 4:1, and Luke 10:21), His poverty (Luke 20:24, Luke 9:58), His sympathy and His identification with the human race. Satan ruined the first man, but was defeated by the second man, Jesus Christ.
Let us briefly consider the sympathizing Jesus. He loved the lowly, the poor, and the outcast. See Him with the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-18), the sinful woman (Luke 7:37), Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2), publicans and sinners (Luke 15:1), the deserted beggar (Luke 16:20-21), lepers (Luke 17:12), and the dying thief (Luke 23:43). Consider also His tears for Jerusalem (see Luke 19:41).
Outline of the Book
I. Luke 1:5-Luke 2:52
The Preparation of the Savior
II. Luke 3:1-Luke 4:15
The Introduction of the Savior
III. Luke 4:16-Luke 9:50
The Ministry of the Savior
IV. Luke 9:51-Luke 18:30
The Mission of the Savior
V. Luke 18:31-Luke 23:56
The Passion of the Savior
VI. Luke 24:1-53
The Resurrection of the Savior
Some interesting features of the gospel:
Part One: His Perfect Humanity (Chapters 1-4)
Part Two: The Galilee Ministry (Chapters 4-9)
Part Three: The Jerusalem Journey (Chapters 9-19)
Part Four: The Calvary Sacrifice (Chapters 19-23)
Seven “Crises” in the life of the Lord as recorded by Luke:
1. His birth
2. His baptism
3. His temptation
4. His transfiguration
5. His crucifixion
6. His resurrection
7. His ascension