A physician by profession, Luke plays both the role of investigator and reporter as he searches out eyewitness reports and reconstructs “an orderly account” of the truth of Jesus’ life, teaching and ministry.
Written about 30 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Luke carries out his investigation in a very precise historical window. Many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry are still alive but they won’t be for much longer. So Luke takes his opportunity to interview the eyewitnesses who are still alive and compiles both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Put together, Luke contributes more words, sentences and verses to the New Testament than any other author (although Paul wrote more books). Luke takes his time and uses lots of words, including many specific details and very helpful stories and illustrations.
Luke was a close friend of Paul, accompanying him on many of his travels. He was also an understudy and personal physician to Paul.
Luke himself was not a not an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry but rather came to faith in Jesus as the early church preached the gospel of Jesus’ defeat of sin through His death and resurrection. He was also a Gentile from Antioch – not Jewish ethnically or religiously. He didn’t grow up in the temple and he wasn’t acquainted with the Old Testament scriptures or looking forward to a coming Messiah. Like many of you, Luke became a follower of Jesus as an adult and had lots of questions. This is very helpful because his inquisitive and skeptical mind seeks to answer many of those questions in his study and writing.
Along with coming to faith as an adult with a secular background, Luke is an extremely educated and intelligent man. As a doctor, he studied medicine and science. As a writer, his historical accuracy is sharp and his Greek is perfect. In a culture where less than one out of ten men were educated, Luke is highly educated and he uses all of his vast intellect to love Jesus, study Jesus and serve Jesus by writing books about Jesus.
Don't "Just Have Faith"
For those of you who are highly educated, skeptical and/or love science and medicine, Luke is a reminder that intellect is not an enemy of Jesus. Your mind, your questions and your education are all gifts given to you by God and they are intended to be used for Jesus as tools of mission to help others know and love Jesus.