An Appointment With Dr. Luke
Today we begin journey through Dr. Luke’s Gospel. Here are some things about Luke’s Gospel.
Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel for Everyone. He was a Gentile - the only NT writer not a Jew. Written mainly for Gentiles - people like us
Luke is the Gospel of Prayer - he shows Jesus at prayer just before all the great moments of his life.
Luke is the Gospel of Women - in Palestine the place of women was low. Luke gives a very special place to women. Luke writes of Elizabeth, Anna, the widow at Nain, the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Martha and Mary, and of Mary Magdalene.
Luke is the Gospel of Praise - ‘praising God’ occurs more often than in all of the rest of the NT put together.
Luke presents the Universal gospel. Luke shows Jesus as the friend of outcasts and sinners. Luke alone tells of the woman who bathed Jesus feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair in the home of Simon the Pharisee.; Zacchaeus the tax gatherer; The penitent thief at the cross; The immortal story of the Prodigal Son and the Loving Father. Wiersbe: Luke’s emphasis is on the universality of Jesus Christ and His salvation: “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10)
Luke’s Gospel is written to Theophilus - likely a high official in Roman Government. (Read 1:1-4)
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
With that, Dr. Luke begins our appointment. We are in his office with his first case - Zechariah and Elizabeth. This godly couple were ‘righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lords commands and decrees…’ Their heartache was that they were unable to have children. When he was serving in the temple the angel Gabriel came to tell Zechariah that they were going to have a son (spoiler alert - it’s John the Baptist!). Zechariah asks, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Because he questioned the angel, Zechariah was unable to speak until the day his son was born. Just as Gabriel promised, when that day came, Zechariah named his son John and sang out a song of praise! Dr. Luke gives us insight into four practices that bring the greatest spiritual health.
1. Never Give Up Hope (5-7)
Luke begins his gospel in a time of hopelessness. Zachariah / Elizabeth: no hope of having a child. Spiritual leaders were shackled by tradition/corruption. There has been no word from a prophet in 400 years. King Herod is a tyrant and makes life hard. So in personal, religious, and national ways, there was a feeling of hopelessness.
Dr. Luke reminds us that Jesus is the hope of all. In story after story he shows Jesus bringing hope where there is none. Ultimately our hope is in the salvation Jesus brings.
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The Great Physician has the ability to heal us all. Never give up hope. Another principle of spiritual health:
2. Keep On Praying (8-14a)
If God keeps bringing hope, then we should keep praying. In spite of being troubled about their family, Zechariah was faithful to keep serving in the temple. Gabriel said, “Your prayer has been heard…”. So often when our troubles extend into years and our hardships seem to never end, we can be tempted to stop praying. Keep on praying - your prayers are being heard!
Luke’s Gospel is full of praying people. Elderly widow who never stopped praying / fasting (2). John’s disciples (5). The persistent widow (18). The humble publican (18). Multiple occasions: Jesus. There can be no spiritual health without praying!
Luke 19:46: My House will be a house of prayer
3. Failure is Not Final (18-22)
Zechariah was a priest, a godly man, righteous - but he failed to believe Gabriel! Luke mentions angels 23 times in his gospel. There are innumerable angels but only two are named: Michael and Gabriel. (Wiersbe). Always provoke fear - but always say ‘fear not’. Zechariah’s struggle to believe had consequences, but was not a moment of rejection from God. Luke is full of stories of broken people who found healing and wholeness in the power of God. This is my story - our story - humanity’s story.
Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus recognizes that Simon is going to fail, but he is going to come back. What grace! When John is born, Elizabeth recognizes God’s tender grace: Vs 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
4. Never Stop Praising (1:67-79 )
When John was born, just as Gabriel said, Zechariah was able to speak. What does he do? The final principle of spiritual health: Never Stop Praising!
1:76-79 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Dr. Luke gives us four principles of spiritual health: Never give up hope; Keep on praying, Failure is not final, and Never Stop Praising!
Our first appointment with Dr. Luke is like all of our doctor appointments: how willing are we to follow the doctor’s
Video of this lesson will be available on our YouTube channel:
Barclay, William. Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Luke
Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Vol. 1: Matthew - Galatians.