Sunday, 1 December 2019

The Gospel of Luke - Overview & Chapter 1


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What do we know about the Gospel of Luke?
What do we know about Luke?


Is it important to read this gospel?
Is it important to believe this writer?







I am doing this in response to an Advent Reading challenge where we read 1 chapter of the Gospel of Luke per day from 1st to 24th December which will allow the whole book to be read.

I don't plan to post every day but will do so at least on each of the Sundays, Wednesdays and on the 24th.

Before I started this I thought I should do a quick overview of the Gospel of Luke and the person of Luke Himself.



You will often hear that John's Gospel is the one written around Love but what is Luke's Gospel written around or why was it written or from what aspect because of the person of Luke.


Let's Start With Luke



Who Was Luke?


Author of The Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts

Also known as Luke the Evangelist, not an eye-witness to the life of Jesus but was a travelling companion of Paul.

He was a doctor and a church historian.



Why Did He Write This Gospel?


Luke said himself in Luke 1 v 3-4
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 
 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 
 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

So from that we know he wanted to have an "orderly account" of the life of Jesus so that Theophilus and presumably others would be sure of what they had been told.



How Was He Able To Write it?


He travelled with Paul (as is clear from the Book of Acts)  so would have met many of the Apostles, Disciples and others who had first hand knowledge of Jesus.

He was well educated so would have been able to write down the stories he heard from others.

He was a doctor so would have had an organised manner of recording information.



If you want to know some more about Luke you can go to OverviewBible.com
or look at some commentaries.



What do we know about Luke and the Gospel he wrote for us?




Now Let's Look Briefly at an Overview of The Gospel of Luke



It is the longest Gospel.

It is the longest book in the New Testament.

An account of the Life of Christ set out in chronological order.

It gives us the details of the Life of Jesus.

This Gospel shows Jesus as the seeking Saviour of all people as seen in Luke ch.2 v 30-32

For my eyes have seen Your salvation

Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.

You can get more of an overview of the Gospel of Luke at OverviewBible.com






Now let's look at the First Chapter of Luke.




Introduction  v. 1-4:



This has been covered in the section Why Did He Write This Gospel? above.

It is a kind of dedication or greeting to Theophilus who was the person he also wrote the Book of Acts to as is clear in the first few verses of Acts Ch. 1

Again as in my series on the Book of Acts  I have to say that if I had skimmed over this introduction too I would have missed out on something - the fact that Luke wanted to have things written down methodically as I appreciate that type of mind.



The rest of the chapter is divided into 6 sections.


John the Baptist's Birth Foretold  v. 5-25:


Here we get the lineage of both Zacharias and Elizabeth and of course we know from later in the chapter that Mary and Elizabeth were cousins so this gives us part of the lineage of Mary as well.
Zacharias was a priest so that meant he was a levite and Elizabeth is described as a descendent of Aaron hence also a levite.

verse 6 has to be the verse that stands out here

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

What person today could ever dare to hope that this would be a statement made about them?


Then in verse 13 there is the glorious, precious message from the angel who appears to Zacharias

Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife  Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

What person today could ever dare to hope that God would answer a heartfelt prayer in such a way as this?

Not only is the prayer answered but detail and praise and honour is given to the son they are to have.

The angel gives his name to show the importance of this message and the authority he has.
Gabriel is an Archangel and was the one who appeared to Daniel in the Old Testament which would have been something a Levite like Zacharias would have know.
Imagine the impact of this revelation - Zacharias was probably sorry he had questioned how the message God had sent would be able to come to pass because of the awe and fear he would have had hearing this was Gabriel but also made confident in what he had heard because the messenger was Gabriel.   
Some people acknowledge Gabriel as the guardian angel of Israel and hence would probably believe this message from him could only benefit and bring good to God's people.





Jesus' Birth Foretold  v. 26-38:


Again we have the archangel Gabriel coming with special news.
It seems only right that it would be Gabriel as this is the greatest news to be told that Jesus the Son of God is to be born, the Saviour of the World is to become flesh.

Mary's lineage is not specifically mentioned but implied by her relationship to Elizabeth.
However Joseph's lineage is mentioned and that is important because he is of the line of David.

The baby's name is given and this baby to be is to have the throne of King David but His reign shall never end.

Mary then asks a question which could seem to be in the same way as Zacharias asked his question of Gabriel but the reaction of Gabriel is different here.  Zacharias had asked his out of unbelief so there was a consequence from that but Mary's must not have been from unbelief so perhaps hers was more of a simple how because she may have seen it as impossible but she believed the angel's words.
It looks like she asked for information not out of unbelief as is shown in her last words back to Gabriel in verse 38


Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

We can learn from Mary and Zacharias here that our acceptance, attitude and reactions are important when we hear God's Word.


Our acceptance, attitude and reactions are important when we hear God's Word.



Mary's Visit to Elizabeth  v. 39-45:

When Mary went to visit Elizabeth we have no account of Mary telling Elizabeth of her encounter with Gabriel.
We simply read about John leaping in the womb as Mary greets her.
But no words were needed to be spoken by Mary because the Holy Spirit was at work and gave the knowledge of the full situation to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth speaks words of blessing and is humbled by the fact that her Lord is there even though He was not yet born and she finishes with the words of verse 45 

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fullfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

which back up the fact that Mary had previously not spoken out of unbelief when Gabriel had appeared to her.



I think that verse 37 is actually the verse of this chapter that could almost sum it all up





because throughout the chapter there were so many things that could have been unbelieveable and impossible in our eyes but not with God.



The Magnificat  v. 46-56:


Here we have the words Mary spoke obviously inspired by the Holy Spirit because true worship in our hearts is always inspired by the Spirit.

She starts in praise to God from herself about the blessings she has received and continues on to end with the blessing God has been to all the people of Israel.

Perhaps this blessing or song of the Lord (whichever way people see it) is not remembered often enough today.








The Birth of John v. 57-66:

Obviously Zacharias had been able to relay to Elizabeth the name their son should have and she was not swayed by what family or others would think but believed the name was from God as well as the baby himself.

When Zacharias wrote out the name John he was able to speak again and the first thing he did was to praise God.

Such an impression was made by this that people were talking to others about it and it truly was received as a sign as to the importance of this child.


Zacharias' Prophecy v. 67-80:


Again we see the work of the Holy Spirit as Zacharias prophesied.

Firstly in praise of God and then secondly to speak to the baby to foretell the role John was to play in the Salvation of souls, by the preparing of the hearts of the people for the Saviour to come and stressing the role in bringing peace.


In my blog post for the First Day in the Book of Acts  I made the following statement

We have a lot to learn from Luke.

then I also stated

And we have a lot to be thankful to Luke for.

followed by

Makes you think even before you start reading the story.


Today here starting the Gospel of Luke I have to agree with the first and second statements because we do have a lot to learn from Luke as we have already seen in this first chapter.

Why?
Because the details we have here are not all brought to us in the other 3 Gospels.


However I would like to slightly change my third statement to read as follows

Makes you think as soon as you start reading the story.




Makes you think as soon as you start reading the story





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4 comments:

  1. I love the way you've given us more to chew on from this gospel, Sandra! I'm actually studying this book and almost to Jesus' death. I began it over a year ago, so I'm taking it slow and soaking up every morsel I can find! I'll be pinning!

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  2. We just started to do the same of reading a chapter of Luke each night for Advent. I am loving it. Already by reading the book out loud, so much new revelations has come to me. It's exciting!

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  3. I love the gospel of Luke. We're studying it in Church right now.

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  4. I really enjoyed digging onto the first chapter of Luke with you. I hope you have a lovely day.

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