We begin a new sermon series this week in the Gospel of Luke. We’ll start by considering four elements of this book: the author, the audience, the approach, and the application.
The pronoun “me” in Luke 1:3 is the only place in this gospel where the human writer references himself. Yet, although he is never identified in the text, there is universal agreement that Luke wrote this gospel.
Luke also wrote Acts, and between Luke and Acts, he wrote more pages of the New Testament than anyone else. This is remarkable because he was the only New Testament writer who was a Gentile and the one who had not witnessed the resurrection. In a way, this may may him easier to identify with for many of us than the other gospel writers. Luke is a person like us who heard the gospel preached, and God had mercy on him and granted him the faith to believe.
The Gospel of Luke is addressed to “most excellent Theophilus.” It is the only gospel addressed to a single individual, which gives a more personal tone. It includes more personal interactions than the other gospels (like the account of Zacchaeus and the thief on the cross). It includes parables of a more personal nature (the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, for example) that the other gospels do not.
Because Luke was not there to witness the things he wrote about, he made diligent study and did extensive research. He used narratives that other had written (likely including the Gospels of Matthew and Mark). And he interviewed eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life. It seems likely, for instance, that he spoke with Jesus’ mother, Mary, based on the details he includes about Jesus’ birth and childhood and her personal reactions to many things.
William Hendrickson suggests four areas of application that we will explore through this study:
- Doctrine: what we should believe
- Ethics: how we should like
- Comfort: why we should rejoice
- Prophecy: what we should expect