Reading plan for days 15 to 21:
Sunday, 1/22: Mark. 5-6
Monday, 1/23: Mark 7-8
Tuesday, 1/24: Mark 9-10
Wednesday, 1/25: Mark 11-12
Thursday, 1/26: Mark 13-14
Friday, 1/27: Mark 15-16
Saturday, 1/28: Luke 1-3
Some introductory comments:
The Gospel of Luke: Like A Joy-Filled Musical
Luke is actually the first of two works of our New Testament by a single author. The Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles were traditionally attributed to the physician Luke who traveled with Paul (eg, see acts 15:11, where Luke changes to first person narration!) but was not a direct eyewitness to the life and ministry of Jesus (see Luke 1:1-4).
Whether written directly by Luke or only attributed to him, the Gospel of Luke is clearly written by a well educated Greek-speaker who was skilled at writing. In addition to material common to Mark and/or Matthew, Luke adds some wonderful poetic moments: the “magnificat” of Mary after she greets Elizabeth, the prayers of Simeon and Anna. Indeed, one Bible I use points to these praise-filled outbursts and describes Luke like a Broadway musical, where people spontaneously burst out into song!
Luke emphasizes the joy of the ministry and message of Jesus Christ, emphasizing that this is indeed “good” news. More on that next week!
Who is “Theophilus”
Both Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 address the would-be reader by name, “Theophilus.” Who is Theophilus?
Unfortunately, beyond these two references, we do not have any information about a specific individual that Luke may have been writing to. However, this name Theophilus translates out to “friend of God,” and it has been suggested by some that it is intended to be symbolic for every Christian. Because of the address, lacking in other gospels, Theophilus was likely a specific and influential person who believed in Jesus (or was at least attracted to him, like Cornelius in Acts 10), but because of the meaning of the name this same address could have been intended by Luke to apply to other readers as well.
A Book in Two Parts
As you read Luke’s account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, keep in mind that this was only the first of his two existing works. (I say existing because there is a theory among some scholars that Luke may have written a third book, lost to us, detailing the days of the church during the later days of Paul in prison and beyond.) Luke fully intended that his portrait of the person and ministry of Jesus Christ was only part of the story; the “sequel” continues to demonstrate the transformational ministry Jesus begins through the life and work of the Church!
Blessed reading to you this week! Please share any comments, insights, or questions you have from the reading in the comments section below.