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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for Luke

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WRITER: Luke was the “beloved physician” of Colossians 4:14. He used more medical terms than Hippocrates, the father of medicine. The choice of Luke by the Holy Spirit to write the third Gospel reveals that there are no accidental writers of Scripture. There was a supernatural selection of Luke. There were “not many wise” called, but Luke belongs to that category. He and Paul were evidently on a very high intellectual level as well as a spiritual level. This partially explains why they traveled together and obviously became fast friends in the Lord.
Dr. Luke would rank as a scientist of his day. He wrote the best Greek of any of the New Testament writers, including Paul. He was also an accurate historian. According to Sir William Ramsay, Dr. Luke was a careful historian of remarkable ability.
A great deal of tradition surrounds the life of Dr. Luke, which is needless for us to examine in a brief analysis. He writes his Gospel from Mary’s viewpoint, which confirms the tradition that he got his information for his Gospel from her. Surely he conferred with her. Also there is every reason to believe that he was a Gentile. Most scholars concur in this position. Paul, in Colossians, distinguishes between those “who are of the circumcision” (Colossians 4:11) and the others who are obviously Gentiles. Luke is in the list of Gentiles (Colossians 4:14). Sir William Ramsay and J. M. Stifler affirm without reservation that Luke was a Gentile.
References to Luke: Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; also the “we” section of Acts — Acts 16:10-17; 20:6; 21:18; 27:1; 28:16.

THEME: “Behold the Man”
Jesus is the second man but the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47). God is making men like Jesus (1 John 3:2), therefore Jesus is the second man — for there will be the third and even the millionth. He is the last Adam, as there will not be another head of the human family. Jesus was “made like his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17) that His brethren might be made like Him.

THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH: Each Gospel presents Jesus from a different viewpoint. Matthew emphasizes that Jesus was born the Messiah. Mark emphasizes that Jesus was the Servant of Jehovah. Luke stresses the fact that Jesus was the perfect Man. John presents the fact that God became a man, but not from the scientific approach.
Dr. Luke states that he examined Jesus of Nazareth, and his findings are that Jesus is God. He came to the same conclusion as John, but his procedure and technique were different.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Although the Gospel of Luke is one of the synoptic Gospels, it contains many features omitted by Matthew and Mark.

  • Dr. Luke gives us the songs of Christmas.
  • Dr. Luke has the longest account of the virgin birth of Jesus of any of the Gospels. In the first two chapters he gives us an unabashed record of obstetrics, and a clear and candid statement of the virgin birth is given. All the way from Dr. Luke to Dr. Howard Kelly, gynecologist of Johns Hopkins, there is a mighty affirmation of the virgin birth, which makes the statements of pseudo-theologians seem rather puerile when they unblushingly state that the virgin birth is a biological impossibility.
  • Dr. Luke gives us 20 miracles, and 6 of them are recorded in no other Gospel.
  • He likewise gives us 23 parables, and 18 of them are found nowhere else. The parables of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan are peculiar to the third Gospel.
  • He also gives us the very human account of the walk to Emmaus of our resurrected Lord. This proves that Jesus was still human after His resurrection. Dr. Luke demonstrates that the resurrection was not of the spirit but of the body. Jesus was “sown a natural body…raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44). A definite human sympathy pervades this Gospel, which reveals the truly human nature of Jesus as well as the big-hearted sympathy of this physician of the first century who knew firsthand a great deal about the suffering of humanity.
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