Bible Book Number 42—Luke
Place Written: Caesarea
Writing Completed: c. 56–58 C.E.
Time Covered: 3 B.C.E.–33 C.E.
1. What kind of Gospel did Luke write?
THE Gospel of Luke was written by a man with a keen mind and a kind heart, and this fine blend of qualities, with the guidance of God’s spirit, has resulted in an account that is both accurate and full of warmth and feeling. In the opening verses, he says, “I resolved also, because I have traced all things from the start with accuracy, to write them in logical order to you.” His detailed, meticulous presentation fully bears out this claim.—Luke 1:3.
2, 3. What external and internal evidence points to the physician Luke as writer of this Gospel?
2 Although Luke is nowhere named in the account, ancient authorities are agreed that he was the writer. The Gospel is attributed to Luke in the Muratorian Fragment (c. 170 C.E.) and was accepted by such second-century writers as Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. Internal evidence also points strongly to Luke. Paul speaks of him at Colossians 4:14 as “Luke the beloved physician,” and his work is of the scholarly order one would expect from a well-educated man, such as a doctor. His fine choice of language and his extensive vocabulary, larger than that of the other three Gospel writers combined, make possible a most careful and comprehensive treatment of his vital subject. His account of the prodigal son is regarded by some as the best short story ever written.
3 Luke uses more than 300 medical terms or words to which he gives a medical meaning that are not used in the same way (if they are used at all) by the other writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures.a For example, when speaking of leprosy, Luke does not always use the same term as the others. To them leprosy is leprosy, but to the physician, there are different stages of leprosy, as when Luke speaks of “a man full of leprosy.” Lazarus, he says, was “full of ulcers.” No other Gospel writer says that Peter’s mother-in-law had “a high fever.” (5:12; 16:20; 4:38) Although the other three tell us of Peter’s cutting off the ear of the slave of the high priest, only Luke mentions that Jesus healed him. (22:51) It is like a doctor to say of a woman that she had “a spirit of weakness for eighteen years, and she was bent double and was unable to raise herself up at all.” And who but “Luke the beloved physician” would have recorded in such detail the first aid rendered to a man by the Samaritan who “bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine upon them”?—13:11; 10:34.
4. When, probably, was Luke written, and what circumstances support this view?
4 When did Luke write his Gospel? Acts 1:1 indicates that the writer of Acts (who was also Luke) had earlier composed “the first account,” the Gospel. Acts was most probably completed about 61 C.E. while Luke was in Rome with Paul, who was awaiting his appeal to Caesar. So the Gospel account was probably written by Luke in Caesarea about 56-58 C.E., after he returned with Paul from Philippi at the end of Paul’s third missionary journey and while Paul was waiting two years in prison at Caesarea before being taken to Rome for his appeal. Since Luke was there in Palestine, during this time he was well situated to ‘trace all things from the start with accuracy’ concerning the life and ministry of Jesus. Thus, Luke’s account appears to have preceded Mark’s Gospel.
5. From what sources may Luke have ‘traced with accuracy’ the events of Jesus’ life?
5 Luke was not, of course, an eyewitness of all the events he records in his Gospel, not being one of the 12 and probably not even a believer until after Jesus’ death. However, he was very closely associated with Paul in the missionary field. (2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24) So, as might be expected, his writing shows evidence of Paul’s influence, as can be seen by comparing their two accounts of the Lord’s Evening Meal, at Luke 22:19, 20 and; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. As a further source of material, Luke could have referred to Matthew’s Gospel. In ‘tracing all things with accuracy,’ he would be able personally to interview many eyewitnesses of the events of Jesus’ life, such as the surviving disciples and possibly Jesus’ mother, Mary. We can be sure that he left no stone unturned in assembling the reliable details.
6. How much of Luke’s Gospel is unique with him, and for whom did he write? Why do you so answer?
6 It becomes clear on examining the four Gospel accounts that the writers do not simply repeat one another’s narratives, nor do they write solely to provide several witnesses for this most vital Bible record. Luke’s account is most individualistic in its treatment. In all, 59 percent of his Gospel is unique with him. He records at least six specific miracles and more than twice that number of illustrations that are not mentioned in the other Gospel accounts, devoting one third of his Gospel to narrative and two thirds to the spoken word; his Gospel is the longest of the four. Matthew wrote primarily for the Jews, and Mark for non-Jewish readers, especially the Romans. Luke’s Gospel was addressed to the “most excellent Theophilus” and through him to other persons, both Jews and non-Jews. (Luke 1:3, 4) In giving his account a universal appeal, he traces the genealogy of Jesus back to “Adam, son of God,” and not just to Abraham, as does Matthew in writing specially for the Jews. He particularly notes the prophetic words of Simeon that Jesus would be the means of “removing the veil from the nations,” and tells that “all flesh will see the saving means of God.”—3:38; 2:29-32; 3:6.
7. What testifies strongly to the authenticity of Luke’s Gospel?
7 Throughout his writing, Luke proves to be an outstanding narrator, his accounts being well arranged and accurate. These qualities of accuracy and fidelity in Luke’s writings are strong proof of their authenticity. A legal writer once observed: “While romances, legends and false testimony are careful to place events related in some distant place and some indefinite time, thereby violating the first rules we lawyers learn of good pleading, that ‘the declaration must give time and place,’ the Bible narratives give us the date and place of the things related with the utmost precision.”b In proof he cited Luke 3:1, 2: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was district ruler of Galilee, but Philip his brother was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene, in the days of chief priest Annas and of Caiaphas, God’s declaration came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” There is no indefiniteness here as to time or place, but Luke names no less than seven public officials so that we can establish the time of the beginning of John’s ministry and that of Jesus.
8. How does Luke indicate the time of Jesus’ birth “with accuracy”?
8 Luke also gives us two pointers for fixing the time of Jesus’ birth when he says, at Luke 2:1, 2: “Now in those days a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus for all the inhabited earth to be registered; (this first registration took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria).” This was when Joseph and Mary went up to Bethlehem to be registered, and Jesus was born while they were there.c We cannot but agree with the commentator who says: “It is one of the most searching tests of Luke’s historical sense that he always manages to achieve perfect accuracy.”d We must acknowledge as valid Luke’s claim to have “traced all things from the start with accuracy.”
9. What prophecy of Jesus, recorded by Luke, had a remarkable fulfillment in 70 C.E.?
9 Luke also points out how the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures were accurately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He quotes Jesus’ inspired testimony on this. (24:27, 44) Further, he accurately records Jesus’ own prophecies concerning future events, and many of these have already had remarkable fulfillments in all their foretold detail. For example, Jerusalem was surrounded by siegeworks of pointed stakes and perished in a frightful holocaust in 70 C.E., just as Jesus foretold. (Luke 19:43, 44; 21:20-24; Matt. 24:2) The secular historian Flavius Josephus, who was an eyewitness with the Roman army, testifies that the countryside was denuded of trees to a distance of about ten miles [16 km] to provide stakes, that the siege wall was four and a half miles [7.2 km] long, that many women and children died from famine, and that more than 1,000,000 Jews lost their lives and 97,000 were taken captive. To this day, the Arch of Titus in Rome portrays the Roman victory procession with spoils of war from Jerusalem’s temple.e We can be sure that other inspired prophecies recorded by Luke will be just as accurately fulfilled.
CONTENTS OF LUKE
10. What did Luke set out to do?
10 Luke’s introduction (1:1-4). Luke records that he has traced all things from the start with accuracy and that he has resolved to write them in logical order so that the “most excellent Theophilus . . . may know fully the certainty” of these things.—1:3, 4.
11. What joyful events are related in the first chapter of Luke?
11 The early years of Jesus’ life (1:5–2:52). An angel appears to the aged priest Zechariah with the joyful news that he will have a son whom he is to call John. But until the boy is born, Zechariah will not be able to speak. As promised, his wife, Elizabeth, becomes pregnant, though also “well along in years.” About six months later, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her that she will conceive by “power of the Most High” and bear a son who is to be called Jesus. Mary visits Elizabeth and, after a happy greeting, declares exultantly: “My soul magnifies Jehovah, and my spirit cannot keep from being overjoyed at God my Savior.” She speaks of Jehovah’s holy name and of his great mercy toward those who fear him. At John’s birth, Zechariah’s tongue is loosed to declare also God’s mercy and that John will be a prophet who will make Jehovah’s way ready.—1:7, 35, 46, 47.
12. What is stated concerning Jesus’ birth and childhood?
12 In due course, Jesus is born at Bethlehem, and an angel announces this “good news of a great joy” to shepherds watching their flocks at night. Circumcision is carried out according to the Law, and then, when Jesus’ parents “present him to Jehovah” at the temple, the aged Simeon and the prophetess Anna speak concerning the child. Back in Nazareth, he ‘continues growing and getting strong, being filled with wisdom, and God’s favor continues with him.’ (2:10, 22, 40) At the age of 12, on a visit from Nazareth to Jerusalem, Jesus amazes the teachers with his understanding and his answers.
13. What does John preach, and what occurs at Jesus’ baptism and immediately thereafter?
13 Preparation for the ministry (3:1–4:13). In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, God’s declaration comes to John the son of Zechariah, and he goes “preaching baptism in symbol of repentance for forgiveness of sins,” that all flesh may “see the saving means of God.” (3:3, 6) When all the people are baptized at the Jordan, Jesus is also baptized, and as he prays, the holy spirit descends on him, and his Father expresses approval from heaven. Jesus Christ is now about 30 years of age. (Luke supplies his genealogy.) Following his baptism, the spirit leads Jesus about in the wilderness for 40 days. Here the Devil tempts him without success and then retires “until another convenient time.”—4:13.
14. Where does Jesus make clear his commission, what is it, and how do his hearers respond?
14 Jesus’ early ministry, largely in Galilee (4:14–9:62). In the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus makes clear his commission, reading and applying to himself the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1, 2: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” (4:18, 19) The people’s initial pleasure at his words turns to anger as he continues his discourse, and they attempt to do away with him. So he moves down to Capernaum, where he heals many people. Crowds follow him and try to detain him, but he tells them: “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (4:43) He goes on to preach in the synagogues of Judea.
15. Describe the calling of Peter, James, and John, as well as that of Matthew.
15 In Galilee, Jesus provides Simon (also called Peter), James, and John with a miraculous catch of fish. He tells Simon: “From now on you will be catching men alive.” So they abandon everything and follow him. Jesus continues in prayer and in teaching, and ‘Jehovah’s power is there for him to do healing.’ (5:10, 17) He calls Levi (Matthew), a despised tax collector, who honors Jesus with a big feast, attended also by “a great crowd of tax collectors.” (5:29) This results in the first of a number of encounters with the Pharisees that leave them maddened and conspiring to do him harm.
16. (a) Following what does Jesus choose the 12 apostles? (b) What points are highlighted by Luke in giving a parallel version of the Sermon on the Mount?
16 After a whole night of prayer to God, Jesus chooses 12 apostles from among his disciples. Further works of healing follow. Then he gives the sermon recorded at Luke 6:20-49, paralleling in shorter form the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew chapters 5 to 7. Jesus draws the contrast: “Happy are you poor, because yours is the kingdom of God. But woe to you rich persons, because you are having your consolation in full.” (6:20, 24) He admonishes his hearers to love their enemies, to be merciful, to practice giving, and to bring forth good out of the good treasure of the heart.
17. (a) What miracles does Jesus next perform? (b) How does Jesus answer the messengers of John the Baptizer concerning whether Jesus is the Messiah?
17 Returning to Capernaum, Jesus receives a request from an army officer to cure an ailing slave. He feels unworthy to have Jesus under his roof and asks Jesus to “say the word” from where he is. Accordingly, the slave is healed, and Jesus is moved to comment: “I tell you, Not even in Israel have I found so great a faith.” (7:7, 9) For the first time, Jesus raises a dead person, the only son of a widow of Nain, for whom he “was moved with pity.” (7:13) As the news concerning Jesus spreads through Judea, John the Baptizer sends to him from prison to ask, “Are you the Coming One?” In answer Jesus tells the messengers: “Go your way, report to John what you saw and heard: the blind are receiving sight, the lame are walking, the lepers are being cleansed and the deaf are hearing, the dead are being raised up, the poor are being told the good news. And happy is he who has not stumbled over me.”—7:19, 22, 23.
18. With what illustrations, works, and words of counsel does the Kingdom preaching continue?
18 Accompanied by the 12, Jesus goes “from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.” He gives the illustration of the sower, and he rounds out the discussion by saying: “Therefore, pay attention to how you listen; for whoever has, more will be given him, but whoever does not have, even what he imagines he has will be taken away from him.” (8:1, 18) Jesus continues to perform wonderful works and miracles. He also gives the 12 authority over the demons and the power to cure sicknesses and sends them forth “to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.” Five thousand are miraculously fed. Jesus is transfigured on the mountain and the following day heals a demon-possessed boy whom the disciples could not cure. He cautions those who want to follow him: “Foxes have dens and birds of heaven have roosts, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.” To be fit for the Kingdom of God, a person must set his hand to the plow and not look back.—9:2, 58.
19. How does Jesus illustrate true love of neighbor?
19 Jesus’ later Judean ministry (10:1–13:21). Jesus sends out 70 others into “the harvest,” and they are filled with joy at the success of their ministry. As he is preaching, a man, wanting to prove himself righteous, asks Jesus: “Who really is my neighbor?” In answer, Jesus gives the illustration of the neighborly Samaritan. A man, lying on the roadside half-dead from a beating by robbers, is ignored by a passing priest and by a Levite. It is a despised Samaritan who stops, tenderly cares for his wounds, lifts him up on his own beast, brings him to an inn, and pays for him to be taken care of. Yes, it is “the one that acted mercifully toward him” who made himself neighbor.—10:2, 29, 37.
20. (a) What point does Jesus make with Martha and Mary? (b) What stress does he lay on prayer?
20 In Martha’s house, Jesus mildly rebukes her for becoming overly anxious about her household chores, and he commends Mary for choosing the better part, sitting down and listening to his word. To his disciples he teaches the model prayer and also the need for persistence in prayer, saying: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find.” Later he expels demons and declares happy “those hearing the word of God and keeping it.” While at a meal, he clashes with the Pharisees over the Law and pronounces woes upon them for taking away “the key of knowledge.”—11:9, 28, 52.
21. What warning does Jesus give against covetousness, and what does he urge his disciples to do?
21 As he is again with the crowds, a certain one urges Jesus: “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus goes to the heart of the problem in replying: “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” Then he gives the illustration of the wealthy man who tore down his storehouses to build bigger ones, only to die that very night and leave his wealth to others. Jesus concisely makes the point: “So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” After urging his disciples to seek first God’s Kingdom, Jesus tells them: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” His healing on the Sabbath of a woman who has been sick for 18 years leads to a further clash with his opposers, who are put to shame.—12:13, 15, 21, 32.
22. By what pointed illustrations does Jesus instruct concerning the Kingdom?
22 Jesus’ later ministry, largely in Perea (13:22–19:27). Jesus uses colorful word illustrations in pointing his hearers to the Kingdom of God. He shows that those who seek prominence and honor will be abased. Let the one who spreads a feast invite the poor, who cannot repay; he will be happy and be “repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones.” Next, there is the illustration of the man spreading a grand evening meal. One after another the invited ones make excuses: One has bought a field, another has purchased some oxen, and another has just married a wife. In anger the householder sends out to bring in “the poor and crippled and blind and lame,” and he declares that none of those first invited will have so much as “a taste” of his meal. (14:14, 21, 24) He gives the illustration of the lost sheep that is found, saying, “I tell you that thus there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance.” (15:7) The illustration of the woman who sweeps her house to recover one drachma coin makes a similar point.f
23. What is illustrated in the account of the prodigal son?
23 Jesus then tells of the prodigal son who asked his father for his share in the property and then squandered it “by living a debauched life.” Falling into dire need, the son came to his senses and returned home to throw himself upon his father’s mercy. His father, moved with pity, “ran and fell upon his neck and tenderly kissed him.” Fine clothing was provided, a big feast was prepared, and “they started to enjoy themselves.” But the elder brother objected. In kindness his father set him straight: “Child, you have always been with me, and all the things that are mine are yours; but we just had to enjoy ourselves and rejoice, because this your brother was dead and came to life, and he was lost and was found.”—15:13, 20, 24, 31, 32.
24. What truths does Jesus emphasize in the illustrations of the rich man and Lazarus as well as of the Pharisee and the tax collector?
24 On hearing the illustration of the unrighteous steward, the money-loving Pharisees sneer at Jesus’ teaching, but he tells them: “You are those who declare yourselves righteous before men, but God knows your hearts; because what is lofty among men is a disgusting thing in God’s sight.” (16:15) By the illustration of the rich man and Lazarus, he shows how great is the chasm that is fixed between those favored and those disapproved by God. Jesus warns the disciples that there will be causes for stumbling, but “woe to the one through whom they come!” He speaks of difficulties to appear “when the Son of man is to be revealed.” “Remember the wife of Lot,” he tells them. (17:1, 30, 32) By an illustration, he gives assurance that God will certainly act in behalf of those who “cry out to him day and night.” (18:7) Then, by another illustration, he reproves the self-righteous: A Pharisee, praying in the temple, thanks God that he is not like other men. A tax collector, standing at a distance and not willing even to raise his eyes to heaven, prays: “O God, be gracious to me a sinner.” How does Jesus evaluate this? He declares the tax collector to be more righteous than the Pharisee, “because everyone that exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted.” (18:13, 14) Jesus is entertained at Jericho by the tax collector Zacchaeus and gives the illustration of the ten minas, contrasting the result of faithfully using entrusted interests with that of hiding them away.
25. How does Jesus enter upon the final stage of his ministry, and what prophetic warnings does he give?
25 Final public ministry in and around Jerusalem (19:28–23:25). As Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a colt and is hailed by the multitude of the disciples as “the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name,” the Pharisees call on him to rebuke his disciples. Jesus replies: “If these remained silent, the stones would cry out.” (19:38, 40) He gives his memorable prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction, saying that she will be surrounded with pointed stakes, distressed, and dashed to the ground with her children and that not one stone will be left on another. Jesus teaches the people in the temple, declaring the good news and answering the subtle questions of the chief priests, the scribes, and the Sadducees by skillful illustrations and argumentation. Jesus gives a powerful portrayal of the great sign of the end, mentioning again the surrounding of Jerusalem by encamped armies. Men will become faint out of fear at the things coming to pass, but when these things occur, his followers are to ‘raise themselves erect and lift their heads up, because their deliverance is getting near.’ They are to keep awake to succeed in escaping what is destined to occur.—21:28.
26. (a) What covenants does Jesus introduce, and with what does he associate them? (b) How is Jesus strengthened under trial, and what rebuke does he give at the time of his arrest?
26 It is now Nisan 14, 33 C.E. Jesus holds the Passover and then introduces “the new covenant” to his faithful apostles, associating this with the symbolic meal that he commands them to observe in remembrance of him. He also tells them: “I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.” (22:20, 29) That same night, as Jesus prays at the Mount of Olives, ‘an angel from heaven appears to him and strengthens him. But getting into an agony, he continues praying more earnestly; and his sweat becomes as drops of blood falling to the ground.’ The atmosphere grows tense as Judas the betrayer leads in the mob to arrest Jesus. The disciples cry: “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” One of them does lop off the ear of the high priest’s slave, but Jesus rebukes them and heals the wounded man.—22:43, 44, 49.
27. (a) Wherein does Peter fail? (b) What charges are brought against Jesus, and under what circumstances is he tried and sentenced?
27 Jesus is hustled along to the high priest’s house for questioning, and in the chill of the night, Peter mingles with the crowd around a fire. On three occasions he is accused of being a follower of Jesus, and three times he denies it. Then the cock crows. The Lord turns and looks upon Peter, and Peter, recalling how Jesus had foretold this very thing, goes out and weeps bitterly. After being haled into the Sanhedrin hall, Jesus is now led before Pilate and accused of subverting the nation, forbidding payment of taxes, and “saying he himself is Christ a king.” Learning that Jesus is a Galilean, Pilate sends him to Herod, who happens to be in Jerusalem at the time. Herod and his guards make fun of Jesus and send him back for trial before a frenzied mob. Pilate ‘surrenders Jesus to their will.’—23:2, 25.
28. (a) What does Jesus promise to the thief who shows faith in him? (b) What does Luke record concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection?
28 Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension (23:26–24:53). Jesus is impaled between two evildoers. One taunts him, but the other manifests faith and asks to be remembered in Jesus’ Kingdom. Jesus promises: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (23:43) Then an unusual darkness falls, the curtain of the sanctuary is rent down the middle, and Jesus cries out: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” At this he expires, and his body is taken down and laid in a tomb carved in the rock. On the first day of the week, the women who have come with him from Galilee go to the tomb but cannot find Jesus’ body. Just as he himself foretold, he has risen on the third day!—23:46.
29. With what joyful account does Luke’s Gospel conclude?
29 Appearing unidentified to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus speaks of his sufferings and interprets the Scriptures to them. Suddenly they recognize him, but he disappears. Now they comment: “Were not our hearts burning as he was speaking to us on the road, as he was fully opening up the Scriptures to us?” They hurry back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. Even while they are speaking these things, Jesus appears in their midst. They cannot believe it for sheer joy and wonderment. Then he ‘opens up their minds fully to grasp’ from the Scriptures the meaning of all that has happened. Luke concludes his Gospel account with a description of the ascension of Jesus to heaven.—24:32, 45.
30, 31. (a) How does Luke build confidence that the Hebrew Scriptures are inspired of God? (b) What words of Jesus does Luke quote to support this?
30 The good news “according to Luke” builds a person’s confidence in the Word of God and strengthens his faith so he can stand against the buffetings of an alien world. Luke supplies many examples of accurate fulfillments of the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus is shown drawing his commission in specific terms from the book of Isaiah, and Luke seems to use this as a theme throughout the book. (Luke 4:17-19; Isa. 61:1, 2) This was one of the occasions of Jesus’ quoting from the Prophets. He also quoted from the Law, as when rejecting the Devil’s three temptations, and from the Psalms, as when asking his adversaries, “How is it they say that the Christ is David’s son?” Luke’s account contains many other quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures.—Luke 4:4, 8, 12; 20:41-44; Deut. 8:3; 6:13, 16; Ps. 110:1.
31 When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt as foretold at Zechariah 9:9, the multitudes hailed him joyously, applying to him the scripture at Psalm 118:26. (Luke 19:35-38) In one place two verses of Luke are sufficient to cover six points that the Hebrew Scriptures prophesied concerning Jesus’ reproachful death and his resurrection. (Luke 18:32, 33; Ps. 22:7; Isa. 50:6; 53:5-7; Jonah 1:17) Finally, after his resurrection, Jesus forcefully brought home to the disciples the importance of the entire Hebrew Scriptures. “He now said to them: ‘These are my words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all the things written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms about me must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened up their minds fully to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:44, 45) Like those first disciples of Jesus Christ, we too can be enlightened and gain strong faith by paying attention to the fulfillments of the Hebrew Scriptures, so accurately explained by Luke and the other writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures.
32. How does Luke’s account highlight the Kingdom and what our attitude should be toward the Kingdom?
32 Throughout his account, Luke continually points his reader to the Kingdom of God. From the beginning of the book, where the angel promises Mary that the child she will bear “will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom,” to the closing chapters, where Jesus speaks of taking the apostles into the covenant for the Kingdom, Luke highlights the Kingdom hope. (1:33; 22:28, 29) He shows Jesus taking the lead in Kingdom preaching and sending out the 12 apostles, and later the 70, to do this very work. (4:43; 9:1, 2; 10:1, 8, 9) The single-minded devotion needed in order to enter the Kingdom is underlined by Jesus’ pointed words: “Let the dead bury their dead, but you go away and declare abroad the kingdom of God,” and, “No man that has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well fitted for the kingdom of God.”—9:60, 62.
33. Give examples of Luke’s emphasis on prayer. What lesson can we draw from this?
33 Luke emphasizes the matter of prayer. His Gospel is outstanding in this. It tells of the multitude praying while Zechariah was in the temple, of John the Baptizer being born in answer to prayers for a child, and of Anna the prophetess praying night and day. It describes Jesus’ praying at the time of his baptism, his spending the whole night in prayer before choosing the 12, and his praying during the transfiguration. Jesus admonishes his disciples “always to pray and not to give up,” illustrating this by a persistent widow who continually petitioned a judge until he gave her justice. Only Luke tells of the disciples’ request for Jesus to teach them to pray and of the angel’s strengthening Jesus as he prayed on the Mount of Olives; and he alone records the words of Jesus’ final prayer: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (1:10, 13; 2:37; 3:21; 6:12; 9:28, 29; 18:1-8; 11:1; 22:39-46; 23:46) As in the day when Luke recorded his Gospel, so today prayer is a vital provision for strengthening all who are doing the divine will.
34. What qualities of Jesus does Luke stress as fine precedents for Christians?
34 With his keenly observant mind and his fluent, descriptive pen, Luke gives warmth and vibrant life to Jesus’ teaching. The love, kindness, mercy, and compassion of Jesus toward the weak, oppressed, and downtrodden show up in sharp contrast to the cold, formal, narrow, hypocritical religion of the scribes and Pharisees. (4:18; 18:9) Jesus gives constant encouragement and help to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the crushed ones, thus providing splendid precedents for those who are seeking to “follow his steps closely.”—1 Pet. 2:21.
35. Why can we be truly grateful to Jehovah for his provision of Luke’s Gospel?
35 Just as Jesus, the perfect, wonder-working Son of God, manifested loving concern for his disciples and all men of honest heart, we also should strive to carry out our ministry in love, yes, “because of the tender compassion of our God.” (Luke 1:78) To this end the good news “according to Luke” is indeed most beneficial and helpful. We can be truly grateful to Jehovah for inspiring Luke, “the beloved physician,” to write this accurate, upbuilding, and encouraging account, pointing as it does to salvation through the Kingdom by Jesus Christ, “the saving means of God.”—Col. 4:14; Luke 3:6.
a The Medical Language of Luke, 1954, W. K. Hobart, pages xi-xxviii.
b A Lawyer Examines the Bible, 1943, I. H. Linton, page 38.
d Modern Discovery and the Bible, 1955, A. Rendle Short, page 211.
f A drachma was a Greek silver coin weighing about 0.109 oz. troy [3.4 g].