Men of the Bible
His name means: "Light-Giving"
His work: He was a Gentile by birth, a physician by trade, and a journalist by calling. His character: A humble man willing to be used rather than lauded. His sorrow: An eyewitness to the sinfulness and jealousy of the religious elite in their support of the torture and execution of many faithful believers. His triumph: The opportunity to chronicle the story of Jesus and the account of the founding of the church. Key Scriptures: Luke 1-2; Acts 27
A Look at the Man
Luke may have been born in Antioch, just across the northeast corner of the Mediterranean from Paul's birthplace in Tarsus. There is no record of how Luke was converted to Christianity, but it may have been through the witness of Nicolas, who, along with Stephen, was one of the seven deacons selected by the apostles to care for the Greek-speaking believers.
Luke accompanied Paul to the city of Troas during Paul's second missionary journey. They were compatible traveling companions, so Luke joined Paul as often as he could, eventually becoming his fulltime associate.
As a professional accustomed to disciplined study, Luke decided to undertake a massive assignment—writing an account of Jesus' life and chronicling the founding and early development of the church. Two years of waiting for Paul's trial in Rome gave him ample solitude to organize the documents and memories from his experiences and travels—then to document them in writing.
Before their voyage to Rome, Luke had also accompanied Paul during his two-year imprisonment under the custody of the Roman governor in Caesarea. During that time he had begun to organize his notes for his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He probably traveled throughout the region during those years to collect the material he would need to pen the gospel account. An accomplished historian, Luke knew the value of personally interviewing eyewitnesses. He carefully organized his work to insure accuracy.
Once Paul had been ordered to travel to Rome, Luke joined him on the harrowing voyage across the Great Sea. On their way, their ship was destroyed near the island of Malta. Everyone aboard narrowly escaped with their lives. So it was with a great deal of emotion, once they arrived in Rome, that Luke began writing.
Because Luke had personally visited many of the cities Paul had visited, he could collect detailed accounts of what happened as the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost and the message of Jesus spread throughout the known world. Visits with apostles and witnesses along the way gave Luke not only the information but also the inspiration to finish his task.
Luke soberly accepted his God-given assignment. He was fully aware that his account would be the only one penned by a non-Jew. Luke's greatest desire was that the truth of the message would go beyond its provincial beginnings to touch the souls of those who had never seen or heard for themselves. He probably hoped to reach hundreds, maybe thousands. What he couldn't have known was that these two documents—the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles—would be read and studied by millions for generations to come.Reflect On: Psalm 95:1–7 Praise God: For his majesty. Offer Thanks: For calling you to obedience and service. Confess: Your eagerness for significance rather than your passion for submission. Ask God: To give you a servant’s heart, to serve him with gratitude.