Religion: Christianity Part 3 – the Gospel of Luke
According to Luke, the gospel was written for the Gentiles, the same as the Gospel of Mark. However, it was initially and specifically addressed to his friend Theophilus. The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles were written and addressed to Theophilus, who was presumed to be another Luke follower. Many thought the Acts of the Apostles continued the Gospel of Luke. The school of thought says that the two writings were originally a unified work, and to some extent, they became two books. The Gospel of Luke ends with the ascension of the Lord Jesus, while the Acts of the Apostles start with the ascension of Jesus Christ. Luke was one of Paul’s writers and companions in his ministerial journey in Rome and some Greek cities to which the epistles had been addressed.
Luke became the interpreter and or mediator to those who heard the preachings of Paul that sounded different from what they were hearing from other preachers who were more focused on the Old Testament, like Judaism and the teaching of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Luke aimed to clarify any doubts about the new religion Paul founded and warnings to his converts; “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”—NIV.
Since it was a new religion that Paul introduced, Luke’s work reduced the doubts, confusion, and difficulties of understanding his message during that period when many false preachers and prophets were all over the place. Paul’s doctrine of circumcision of the heart and not cutting off the skin could have been confusing to others but not to those who understood. Luke was determined to encourage more believers to Jesus and introduced him as the Son of God, who died for our sins and rose again from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Like Paul, Luke was more focused on who Jesus was than on the work Jesus did. It’s about faith in Christ.
When it comes to genealogy, unlike Matthew, Luke links the genealogy of Jesus to Adam. Adam is called the Son of God in Luke 3:38. When Adam was created, He made Eve to be his companion, and The LORD said, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). The couple had a great relationship with the LORD. Every time they heard His voice, they ran to God, and the three hangouts and fellowship together. Luke’s gospel to “Theophilus or Theophilos” means friend of God or loved by God. Theophilius is an Eastern Roman Emperor (829–842 Britannica), and writing the gospel of this magnitude leads us to understand that Luke reached the gentiles, starting from the most influential person. Luke provided Theophilus with a detailed historical account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the knowledge he learned from the gospel could be a changing point in his life.
Luke and Matthew derived much of their writing from Mark’s gospel; the rest was from their source that they pieced together to form their good news. Nevertheless, the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth was significant to be included in the gospel of Luke, which is not included in the gospel of Matthew and Mark, due to its connection with the coming of Jesus Christ, through the birth of their Son John the Baptist to light the announcement of the coming of the Messiah in fulfillment of the promise and prepare the people to repent as the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
Jesus preaching from the beginning of his ministry was about the kingdom of God is at hand. What is the kingdom of God? “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” Luke 17:20-22 KJV. The Kingdom of God is something that no one can see; it is something that we can feel when it is within us. The gift of the Holy Spirit is part of the kingdom.
God is all in all.