Book of Luke

 

***His gospel is the longest of the 4 gospels and includes the most healing stories, showing his interest in and compassion for the sick. His gospel also has the most detailed birth account and a more descriptive death and resurrection account for Jesus.

 

***The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts total 52 chapters, making Luke the author of 1/3 of the New Testament, just like Paul.

 

***Most biblical scholars support Luke as the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. (similarity of writing styles and vocabulary in both books)

 

***Luke’s attention to detail and abundant eyewitness accounts serve him as a credible historian for the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

 

***Luke is only mentioned by name three times in Scripture, and all three references are in Paul’s letters.

 

First, he was a Gentile and a Physician:

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); 11 and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. (Colossians 4:10-14) 

 

Second, he may have been from Troas for the ‘we’ sections in Acts begin there. He places himself in the narrative in (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1–28:16) 

 

Third, He was a companion of Paul:

 

Take every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. (2 Timothy 4:9-11)

 

And of Mark too.

 

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.(Philemon 1:23) 

 

Beyond this there is very little information within the NT.

Dedication to Theophilus

 

1 Inasmuch as many

but God only preserved those that were His writings not man’s

 

have taken in hand to set in order a narrative  

Matt/Mark, telling a story, biographical

 

of those things which have been fulfilled among us,

 

2 just as those who from the beginning

 

were eyewitnesses and ministers

Prophets

 

of the word delivered them to us,

Luke is included in the “us” as he was not an eyewitness of the events. He wasn’t around during Jesus’ ministry. This book is written about 30 years later! 55-65 AD. Other than special stand out nuggets of info, I can’t remember back 30 years, months, weeks, days, minutes. He is a Historian who compiled others info.

So this book is either absolutely erroneous or Divine!

 

I’ve been questioned by cops with three others and not all accounts jived!

 

3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly acount

Luke was a companion to Paul the Apostle (2 Tim 4:11). Having attained to an understanding of these things from above, --from heaven itself. Ordered and preserved by the Hand of God of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly chronological order account,

 

But Luke didn’t know it would become Holy Scripture! Most didn’t know – “Paul’s opinion” IS Scripture directed by God. (1 Cor 7:12) “I, not the Lord” (Paul is simply giving us additional revelation regarding marriage that Jesus didn’t elaborate on).

 

(2 Tim 3:16-17) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

 

most excellent Theophilus,

“most excellent Anna”, Rob, Jen, Dominic, etc.

 

Josephus mentions a Theophilus; "King Agrippa, removing Jesus the son of Gamaliel from the high priesthood, gave it to Mathias the son of Theophilus: in whose time the Jewish war began."

Theophilus was a common name during the first century (so was Jesus or Joshua)

 

And let’s go there for a second:

Jesus = Yeshua      Mary = Mariam       John = Yochanan    Elizabeth = Elisheva

Luke = Loukas (Greek)      James = Yaakov     Peter = Shimon – nicknamed Cephas in Aramaic/ means “rock” or Petros      Matthew = Matityahu       Mark = Mordechai or Gad, Gidon, Makabi, Medan

 

Theophilus meaning “lover of God”. A real individual who was the first recipient of Luke's Gospel and who then gave it wide circulation in the early church. (some say a code name for a group of people meeting in the name of Christ) the church He was probably a Roman official of high rank, for he was called most excellent (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25, which use the same Gr. term, ‎kratiste‎).

 

4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

Why, just because someone says it? No, but because you see the life!

 

(2 Peter 1:20-21) But know this first of all, that no * prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

 

(2 Peter 1:16) For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

 

The certainty that Scripture is divine? A Changed Life! “I was one way and now I am completely different – and the thing that happened in between was Him.”

 

Christianity is not blind faith…you go where the evidence points!

But it’s also not a Sprint, it’s a Marathon!

I love that Luke would go through a painstaking and long task of putting together an account of Jesus’ life to confirm Theophilus’ faith -- why he believes what he believes or that which he needs to believe!

Luke didn’t know that this was going to be Holy Scripture –he was led of God without knowing it (sometimes a good thing). Brother on brother encouragement – iron sharpening iron. The world, flesh and the devil want to separate us and keep us from doing this or drive us. B.U.S.Y. Leaving a legacy…How about you? (your kids, next generations)

John's Birth Announced to Zacharias

Now Luke is going to get real specific here about Zecharias which reveals his intimate knowledge and understanding of Jewish ordinances and practices.  Also, it’s verifiable - check the facts!

 

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea,

Herod (Bad dude) – he killed his wives and offspring so often that a popular saying of the day was that it was safer to be his pig rather than his son!

a certain priest ministers unto God. A Priest = from man to God. A Prophet = from God to man

named Zacharias, “Jehovah remembers”

of the division of Abijah.  King David set up 24 divisions or orders of priests (1 Chronicles 24).  These two dozen divisions would rotate throughout the year with each division taking turns serving one week based on the Jewish calendar in each division had two weeks of service annualy.

His wife was of the daughters of Aaron Who is Aaron? Moses’s priestly brother, priesthood in their DNA,

and her name was Elizabeth. “The oath of God “ What was the oath of God? That God will send another, a forerunner like Elijah.  Permanent Redemption.

 

6 And they were both righteous before God,

internally regenerate saved people

walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless. Not walking perfectly or sinless but when they did sin they offered the proper sacrifices to have their sins expiated. What does walking mean? (Godly actions affirm one’s faith) Faith without works is dead. Obeying.

 

7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. (my mom married at 28/they called her a Spinster!)

Advanced in years - thus had no prospect of children. This fact was a constant embarrassment to Elizabeth, an outcast, a reproach of God. God's allowing a barren woman to have children occurred several times in the Old Testament (e.g., the mothers of Isaac, Samson, and Samuel).

Can anyone name a similar birth of old age or miracle birth? Sarah (Gen 18:11had Isaac in old age) Hannah for Samuel (1Sam 1:10) Isaac for Rebecca (Gen 25:21 to open her womb) Abraham for pagan Abimelech’s wives (Gen 20:17) Serge and Miha! Mark and Renata Nigro! My Sister

 

8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God (Not man) in the order of his division,

Want a friend, Want a mate? – “while you are serving”. Want a business connection? “While you are serving…” 

Zechariah's division was on duty.

(the one high priest (direct descendant of Aaron), 24 chief priests (served on Sanhedrin) and the rest were common priests) The priests in each division were on duty twice a year for a week at a time. They would leave their farms or shops to serve.

Zechariah (an Aaronic priest) would burn incense every morning and night for a period of two weeks according to his priestly division, which was assigned at that time.

Considering there are about 20,000 priests and that Zechariah would be chosen by lot to be the priest to offer the incense… the sovereignty of God is stressed even in matters which seem like chance, as in the casting of a lot. It was like winning the lottery!

 

9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

He would take a hot coal from the altar of sacrifice outside the temple building up and take it into the first room of the Temple called the holy place to the second altar of incense that stood in front of the thick curtain that separated the two rooms. He would drop incense on the hot coals and the sweet-smelling aroma would penetrate through the veil to become a sweet smelling offering to the Lord in the Holy Of Holies.

 

Incense Ingredients 4 spices – (Sinful rabbinical teaching expands it to 10)

(Exodus 30:34-38) Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. 35 With it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. 

* I love the smell of incense, the ocean, seafood, etc. Incense is what? Prayers of the Saints (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4) also ( Psalm 141:2) His children speaking with Him!

 

10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

 

The incense for which Zechariah was responsible symbolized the prayers of the entire nation. At that particular moment Zechariah was thus the focal point of the entire Jewish nation.

  1. Prayer gives us intimacy in a crowd. (want to shrink down your church, etc.) John’s studio prayer!

  2. Being a part of whatever anyone else is doing or may even be the reason for the Victory of that which they are engaged in! And probably make the Failure less miserable!

Always be prayerful for others and situations as things unfold, as witnessing opportunities unfold, whatever it is, intercede!

(Romans 15:30 -31) Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; 

He requests prayer for the right words in sharing the gospel (Ephesians 6:19)

To proclaim the gospel without fear (Ephesians 6:20),

Clarity in communication (Colossians 4:4)

Doors to be opened for the gospel (Colossians 4:2)

That God’s word would speed ahead and be honored (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

Deliverance from enemies (Phillipians 1:9)

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, When did this happen? While serving!

Did the prayers of the saints help?  Maybe.  Although they did not know his personal prayer requests for a child I am sure that they were praying for favor to be upon him

and maybe God who DOES know, answered his private prayers and the intercession of the multitudes in this manner!

Angels - Are ministering spirits (Heb 1:14), We entertain angels (Heb 13:1), guardian angels (Matt:18-10)

 

standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

 

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

 

Zacharia’s fear - The two sons of Aaron back in (Deuteronomy 10) died performing this offering when they did it improperly and was smitten dead by God. (Nothing like a little death to keep you on your toes!) A common teaching of the first century was that if any priest made the same mistake and did something wrong, he too would die in the holy place.

The teaching in the first century was also embellished to the point that if a priest saw an angel on the left side of the altar that was okay but if he was standing on the right side of the altar he was the angel of death! Not death but of new life to come!

 

13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; Zacharia apparently had been praying for a son but he prayed with little faith and got fearful when it was answered!

 

and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. “gift of God - GRACE”

By giving him this name God is announcing a new dispensation/covenant! The law came by Moses but grace came by Jesus the Messiah.

 

14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. The famine for the word of God is over! It’s been 400 years since the last Prophet spoke!

 

15 For he will be great (Matthew 11:11) Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Sober of spirit and a sacrificial life. We have an understanding of things that John and the other prophets could not know (things which even angels long to look)

in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. John the Baptist Nazarite vow like Samson, Samuel (“separate themselves unto the Lord” (Leviticus 27:2, Numbers 6:1-27) For a time? For life?

A Nazarite vow was normally voluntary for a period of time. A dedication...like a fast, (give up the physical and gain in the spiritual) but some were lifelong vow.

Samson was one that had an “Outward” vow more than an inward one until his death and yet, he is in the Hall of Faith! (Hebrews 11)

She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. (Judges 16:20)

Back then the Holy Spirit would come upon you and empower you for service whether speaking, strength or leading and it would be upon Kings, priests, prophets, judges only.  So sometimes the Spirit would come upon Samson He would be able to tear a lion in half.

He will also be filled to be controlled by with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb This is a special miracle circumstance because John is neither at the point of understanding or the age of accountability to say yes or no to Jesus.

 

16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.

 

Turn - A repentance movement…to turn the children of Israel back to God...to have a group ready to turn to the Messiah once He has been identified.

 

17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,'* and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Like Elijah he will have a powerful ministry to the remnant. Elijah once called down fire out of heaven! He was sent to clear the way before the Lord (Mal 3:1), and Elijah's return was promised before the day of the Lord (Mal 4:5-6) to restore the hearts of the fathers to their children.

(James 5:17-18)

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this?

He didn’t rejoice but questioned.

 

For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." He speaks in doubt and unbelief.

An O.T. pattern: Sarah/Abraham, The Old will be productive! Moses.

19 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, (strong man of God) who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you It’s Gabriel gives him his resume’ – “No one can see God and live!” but not only do I see Him as He is, but I serve and fellowship with Him – “so pay attention” because He sent me to you!!! That’s how special you are! When Gabriel appeared twice to Daniel (Dan 8:16; 9:21), both times he gave Daniel instruction and understanding. He did the same here with Zechariah.

and bring you these glad tidings. “Glad tidings” - Aren't we good at taking glad tidings and not allowing them to have their desired impact!

20 But behold, you will be mute and probably deaf (Luke1:62), not so glad now!

and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words not Gabriel’s words but God’s words (like the Roman Centurions’ servant being him) A God-sent wound that heals to greater faith and prosperity!

Zachariah's unbelief… *** “So That” Game… (Grandma and Glenn at stove!)

sometimes we are hurt so that we will draw closer to God so that we will be healed so that we grow in our faith so that we don't trip over the same stumbling block so that…

which will be fulfilled in their own time." Whose time? Those who wait upon the Lord

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. Probably wondering if he was smitten dead

22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

No one in Israel had a vision from God for about 400 years either.

For the crowd to learn that God was once again communicating with His people after so long a period of time must have been a source of great excitement and encouragement to them.

Couple this with the Messianic Expectancy during this time, It should have been a sign to the people that God was once again about to move through His people.

This brings up one of the many points of separation between Judaism and Christianity versus the other pagan religions.

Doctrine of Immanence - the idea of 'the divine' being present in the world we all inhabit. Judaism was the first, and Christianity followed, in offering a totally new concept in God’s relationship with humanity.

Doctrine of Transcendence. The idea that “divinity” is wholly separate from our universe and our universal laws. Pagans believe that their gods could care less about the personal daily lives of the people. As long as they observe certain festivals and offered the prescribed sacrifices to the gods, that was all that was required. The gods were too high and lofty to take much interest in humanity.

23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, one or two weeks

that he departed to his own house.

 

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, Why 5 months? Divine Instructions?

25 "Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people." Barren women were looked down upon.

Hannah/Samuel - (1Samuel 1) It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel (Heard by God), saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord.”

Joseph/Rachel - (Genesis 30:22-23) Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. 23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 She named him Joseph (He will add), saying, “May the Lord give me another son.”

Why didn't she conceive before “those days” (when Zacharia had been praying for it?) Don’t know, but God’s timing is best and the circumstance teaches much if we look at the evidence…oftentimes that which will only be realized down the road in our Christian walk.

 

(Why was Lazarus allowed to stay in the tomb for 4 days?) We probably would have chalked it up to coincidence… (God choosing to be anonymous!) if not knowing the Jewish thinking of spirit staying with the body for four days.

 

Christ's Birth Announced to Mary

 

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee, Of course it had to be Galilee – the least, the last and the lost! At least according to the Pharisees and religious leaders of that day.

That’s how God works – go to the last place that anyone would think something prominent would happen in…and do something there!

Evidences:

"If any one wishes to be rich, let him go north; if he wants to be wise, let him come south." Such was the saying, by which Rabbinical pride distinguished between the material wealth of Galilee and the supremacy in traditional lore claimed for the academies of Judaea proper.

Galilee was despised by Rabbis in Israel as non-academic louts. “Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge”…they were all in the south in Judea, Jerusalem.

Their mal-pronunciation of Hebrew, or rather their inability properly to pronounce the gutturals, formed a constant subject of witticism and reproach. …came up and said to Peter, (Matt 26:73) “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”

The slighting speech of Nathanael (John 1:46), "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" reads quite like a common saying of the period.

The rebuke of the Pharisees to Nicodemus (John 7:52), "Search, and look: for out of Galilee arises no prophet," was pointed by the mocking question, "Are you also of Galilee?" It was not merely self-conscious superiority

Galilee prospered materially with corn, grain, wine etc. It was a busy trade rout with many visitors and foreigners.

 

Josephus describes the Galileans as hard-working, manly, and brave; and even the Talmud admits (Jer. Cheth. iv.14) that they cared more for honour than for money.

 

named Nazareth

It appears from ancient Rabbinical writings that Nazareth was one of the stations of the priests. All the priests were divided into twenty-four courses, one of which was always on ministry in the Temple. Now, the priests of the course which was to be on duty always gathered in certain towns, whence they went up in company to the Temple;

 

Like “Hazlet in Monmouth county” is Nazareth in Galilee.

 

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

In Jewish culture this betrothal was much stronger than an engagement period today, for the two were considered husband and wife except that they did not live together till after the wedding.

 

The virgin's name was Mary. Why is it important to be a virgin? A one God woman. Opposite of adultery, which is spiritual fornication.

The meaning of the name Miriam is obscure. (Mary is the Greek translation.) The name was given, not because of its meaning, but because of the person it recalled — “Miriam” — Moses’ sister.

Mary is probably around 15 years of age.

This betrothal (Erusin) was sealed by the use of a contract (Ketubbah). The actual wedding (Nissu’in) was to take place at a later date. Under Jewish law, a young man was considered ready for marriage at age 18 and a girl at age 12 and a day.

The marriage contract (kethubbah), containing the mutual obligations between husband and wife prerequisite to marriage, has been regarded as a safeguard against a hasty divorce. The term “Kethubbah” is used for the document in which the groom pledges himself to assign a certain sum of money to the bride in the event of his death or of his divorcing her. A “marriage price for virgins” which, in Biblical times, the bridegroom paid the father of the bride.

 

The espousal was practically equivalent to marriage only broken by means of a bill of divorcement (get).

The divorce document is needed to dissolve a marriage, though a “get” is not necessary where a man and his concubine wish to annul their relationship. The Bible describes the divorce document as a “book of separation” which the husband must write for his wife and give into her hand before sending her out of his house.

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, because the Lord chose her. (‎charis‎, "grace") with God. Obviously God had bestowed a special honor on her. She was a special recipient of His grace.

 

the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"*

Notice, NOT above women! There are denominations that try to make Mary more than she is also denominations that try to make her less than she is.

29 But when she saw him,* she was troubled at his saying, but not at him! She didn’t say, ”You chose well, after all I am Mary!” she was humble