New Testament History, Literature, and Theology
Session 12: Luke
By Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
A. Introduction to Luke: Author and Audience [00:00-2:44]
back we just finished the book of Mark and talked about forgiving sins and
healing and Son of Man and Messianic Secret from the book of Mark. John Mark writes
Peter’s gospel and the conflict over John Mark and Paul.
I want to flip over to Luke. Luke is going to be a new theme whereas in Matthew Christ is king; in Mark Christ is a suffering servant; in the book of Luke Christ is going to be the perfect man. There’s going to be a lot of humanity of Christ. So I want to kind of introduce this and focus on an introduction to the book of Luke and how Luke portrays Christ. Luke portrays him, as we said, as the perfect man. We’re going to stress at certain points in our discussion the humanity of Christ and I have often said our culture loves Jesus as kind of souped-up MLK or an early Mahatma Gandhi or someone like that. We love Jesus as the sage or prophet. The problem of Jesus is when someone says Jesus is God that’s when people freak out. So normally it’s the deity of Christ when your talking to Jehovah’s Witness or whatever that’s the problem and in our culture everyone loves Jesus the lovey-dovey prophet. It’s the deity that people have problems with. So, normally you stress that when you’re in the book of John or we did that when we were in Mark chapter 1 with the quote from the Old Testament but Jesus was also human. So we shouldn’t push the deity to ignoring of the humanity of Christ. So, basically, how does Luke portray Christ? Largely he is the perfect human.
Do we know Luke wrote it? I want to go through the argumentation for the author being Luke. So we usually do author and audience, those two things in terms of helping us in reading the book properly, the author and the audience hermeneutically and try to understand something the author’s background and the audience’s background. Again I push the author. Most today push the audience that it’s addressed to, but I like both of them. I have two eyes to see; I’ve got an author and I’ve got an audience and I need to know about both of them and the interaction between them.
B. The “We” Passages in
How does one suggest that Luke wrote this? How do we know that Luke wrote it? So I just wanted to go through a proof here. This comes from what they call the “we" passages in the book of Acts. Now if I said this: “Annette and Elliot went to the store. They went up to Newington to go shopping and after they went to Barnes and Noble and they did this and they did that. Then they finally came home and picked me up and we went down to Danvers. We went to a movie.” There was a change from “they” did this and “they” did that to “we” did this and “we” did that it includes me. This is what we have in the book of Acts. Luke is also the author of the book of Acts. It follows the “they, they, they,” and switches to “we.” For example, in chapter 1 verse 3 of the book of Acts see what it says after his sufferings: “Jesus showed himself alive to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive to these men.” So Jesus came alive and showed himself to these men. So in Luke, when he said he came alive and “they” does this include him? No, he’s saying these men not me. He appeared to them not me. “For a period of forty days he spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with ‘them’ he gave ‘them’ this command: do not leave Jerusalem now.” Does this mean, did Luke get this command? No, he said “while he was eating with ‘them’ he gave ‘them’ this command: don’t leave Jerusalem.” So you so see it is “they,” “them,” “they,” “them,” “that kind of thing. So there are what are called the “we” passages. So it’s very interesting as you go through the Second Missionary Journey [2MJ] and many use this abbreviation when we hit the books of Acts we will use it big time. It’s called the 2MJ which means the Second Missionary Journey of the apostle Paul.
C. The Missionary
Journeys of Paul [5:00-7:23]
Let me just summarize this and this is going to be such a crass and I realize that the First Missionary Journey [1MJ] of the apostle Paul is with Barnabas and John Mark and they hit Cyprus and they hit Turkey kind of the middle lower section of turkey so they basically begin from Antioch in Syria. All the missionary journeys start from Antioch. They go to Cyprus then up into the middle of Turkey. That is First Missionary Journey. On the Second Missionary Journey [2MJ] Paul and Silas head off and go to Macedonia then down through Athens in Greece. So the Second Missionary Journey largely focuses on the northern part of Greece coming through Greece and then down to and largely spends a year and a half in Corinth. So the Second Missionary is largely in one place--well two places Macedonia and Corinth. He spends a year and a half building tents in Corinth. Second Missionary Journey and that is around 51 AD. That’s the ballpark there Second Missionary Journey, Corinth almost two years. During the Third Missionary [3MJ] Journey he spends three years at Ephesus. Ephesus is on the coast of Turkey on the far western side by the middle just below the middle. Ephesus Third Missionary Journey three years in Ephesus and the Paul comes back to Jerusalem bringing money for the poor in Jerusalem and he gets in trouble getting thrown in jail for two years then they ship him off to Rome. That’s when the shipwreck happens in the book of Acts. So basically, with Paul you have the 3 missionary journeys central turkey for the 1 Corinth for the 2MJ and then Ephesus for the 3MJ and then Paul goes to Jerusalem gets imprisoned a couple of years and heads over to Rome where he is tried and ultimately beheaded
So what’s interesting is, in the book of Acts as they come to chapter 16, we are now in the Second Missionary Journey and he is coming up to the northern part of Turkey he is coming to Macedonia in the Second Missionary Journey and he is in a place called Troas and it says in chapter 16 in Acts 16:8-11 “So they passed by Myasia and went down to Troas during the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia’s standing and begging him come over to Macedonia and help us, “so he is going to jump from Turkey to Macedonia which is the northern part of Greece.
D. “We” Passages in the
Missionary Journeys [7:23-12:49]
“‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision we,” and now it starts for the first time. “We got ready at once to leave for Macedonia from Troas. We put out to sea. So where was Luke from? Luke was from Troas. The “we” is picked up so we’re going to get this, we, we, we all the way home and Troas the “we” is picked up and they go with Paul then over to Macedonia the “we’s” all the way to the place of Philippi. Now, we know Philippi cause we remember Phillip of Macedon. Do you remember Alexander’s father was Phillip of Macedon, Philippi was named after Phillip, the father of Alexander. But, what happens is Paul goes gets thrown into jail, the Philippian jailer is going to try to kill himself. Paul comes out of jail, Paul and Silas are singing in prison you remember the stories of Acts chapter 16 and Lydia the seller of purple is there but Luke apparently stays at Philippi. So what happens is the “they’s” pick up afterwards and when Paul leaves Philippi all the sudden it switches back to “they.” So, apparently Luke went from Troas to Philippi Macedonia and stays at Philippi. Then Paul continues down into Corinth and those are all “they,” “they” and “they” passages. So, apparently he’s left there and what’s really interesting is then the Third Missionary Journey of the apostle Paul now this is several years later actually, what you get is the “we’s” pick up when Paul hits Philippi on the Third Missionary Journey. He’s coming to raise money, apparently from the Macedonians; apparently the Macedonians had money, but he’s coming to raise money for the poor people of Jerusalem. They had a famine in Jerusalem so Paul is going there. When he hits Philippi guess what happens? The narrative starts up again and all the sudden we get the “we’s” happening again. This shows Luke joined them again chapter 17 verse 1. The third person [they] gives way to the first person [we] again now Luke apparently rejoins Paul on the Third Missionary Journey. Now the “we’s” start back up then at chapter 20 verse 5 when Paul gets back to--chapter 20 verse 5 the “we’s” start up again and Paul returns to Jerusalem with the money for the poor people. The “we’s” go all the way back we we we all the way home back to Jerusalem. Then Luke apparently, since Paul’s going to be in prison, he goes up to Jerusalem he gets into trouble in the temple area and they throw him in jail for two years and while he’s in jail for two years Luke is in Jerusalem and Israel.
Luke is going to be with Paul at Caesarea on the coastline there for a while and there up in Jerusalem and will make an appeal to Caesar. Then after Paul’s in prison for a couple of years under Felix, then with Festus, and Agrippa are going to attempt to send him back to Jerusalem and Paul realizes if he goes back to Jerusalem he’s going to be killed. So Paul says, “I appeal to Caesar.” He’s a Roman citizen so he can appeal to Caesar. He appeals to Caesar from Caesarea so he doesn’t have to go back to Jerusalem to be killed and so what happens is, they write letters and Paul they put him on a boat to Rome. Luke apparently goes on that journey and it’s we, we, we all the way to Rome. This not a missionary journey but he’s going to Rome they actually shipwreck on the isle of Malta I believe it is below Italy. There they shipwreck the boat and Acts chapter 27 is one of the best descriptions of a shipwreck from the ancient world. Luke is there and describes it in great detail and this is all we, we, we narrative in Acts chapter 27.
So we know we can eliminate who it is we use an elimination procedure then and I don’t want to go through all of the details but basically who is with Paul only from Troas to Philippi in the Second Missionary Journey in from Philippi back to Jerusalem on the Third Missionary Journey and who is with Paul on the shipwreck to Rome. It goes to Rome and then who is with Paul in Rome? It’s Luke. So you can through elimination discover it’s obviously not John Mark because he quit of the First Missionary Journey and never made it to the second and you go through all of these people it can’t be Barnabas because he wasn’t there. It can’t be Silas who wasn’t on the voyage to Rome. You go through person after person and there is only one person who was with Paul through all these times and it is Luke. So this is how we get to Luke.
Now, Luke, by the way, we should say he writes the book of Luke which is huge. We just read the book of Mark we just went over the book of Mark in class. Luke is over 1100 verses. The book of Acts is also 28 chapters is one of the longest books of the Bible at least in the New Testament. Matthew is 28 chapters. Acts is 28 chapters. So these Luke and Acts are kind of like a pair of books that go together not like a trilogy but like a duo-logy and so we have in Luke about the stories of Jesus and Acts, the stories of the church. So these two books are 28% of the New Testament. So Luke writes between Luke and Acts writes 28 % of the New Testament and that’s a big deal that’s a huge part of the New Testament.
F. Luke’s Background –
A Doctor [12:49-16:34]
Now Luke’s background: the question about Luke is Luke was a doctor and we have some interesting things in terms of showing Luke as a doctor. This guy named Hobart in the late 1900’s tried to prove that he was a doctor from his vocabulary. So he notes things like this, that back in the ancient world they basically had two ways to refer to fevers. There was a low fever and a high fever and it’s very interesting that Luke chapter 4 verse 38 it says Peter’s mother-in-law had a high fever. So a “high” fever that’s a doctors description, that’s how a doctor would describe it in those times. Luke chapter 5 verse 12, the men were full of leprosy it doesn’t say there’s a leper he describes the leprosy as a doctor he describes diseases so “the men were full of leprosy.” So Hobart and others tried to suggest that the way Luke describes diseased persons is the way that a medical person would describe it and its possible that there is some truth there. I wouldn’t push it though he says the vocabulary Luke uses a very developed vocabulary he’s got 800 what they call hapax legomena which means they only occur once in the New Testament which means his vocabulary is very developed. If you’ve ever seen doctors, doctors have a very developed vocabulary, especially Latin words, knowing what medicines need to be given. My daughter now, shows me she got a hand held device that you can just punch in and it comes up with the names of these long words for medicines. You can just click on them and it sends them to CVS. And so you don’t have to memorize these names anymore or get them mixed up or that type of thing. Luke seems to have a developed vocabulary.
It’s been interesting they studied Josephus who also had an extensive vocabulary and also uses many medical terms in describing things but Josephus was a historian. So just because a person has a developed vocabulary and uses certain medical terms doesn’t mean they’re a doctor. So Josephus was a historian he was not a doctor. Luke, though, seems to be a doctor, but you can’t prove it solely on the basis of vocabulary alone and that is the medical language argument. I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. Many people can use medical terms to refer to things and so don’t weigh that argument to heavily. Josephus, as we mentioned, I don’t know 40 AD to 100 AD that’s a ballpark figure, but largely right after Jesus but kind of in the era where John and the disciples are writing the New Testament. Josephus is a Jewish historian writing The Antiquity of the Jews and other documents are really really interesting from that period.
Here’s a big one for me Colossians 4:14, Paul labels him and calls him “Luke, the beloved physician.” I don’t know much about doctors in the ancient world but I have seen doctors instruments that were used early in America, all I’m saying is doctors today very, very, different instruments, very different procedures then doctors back then. So I don’t know what the doctors’ training was like back then but I certainly wouldn’t want to be operated on by doctors back then. You can see Paul was getting beat up all the time, Paul was stoned to the point of being dead but having a doctor along would be very very helpful. It’s kind of like, if you’re going to start a company you need an accountant if you’re going to be a missionary and you’re going to get beat up all the time it’s nice to have a doctor that travels with you so Luke is called “the beloved physician” by Paul in Colossians 4:14.
G. Luke: Gentile or
It is also interesting that he seems to a Gentile. He seems not to be Jewish and there are various things that indicate this we just want to look at some of them briefly. Luke seems not to be Jewish? Jesus never speaks Aramaic in the book of Luke. Jesus does not speak Aramaic. Some of the things that were used saying Jesus would say talitha koum “little girl get out” or eloi eloi lama sabacthani those types of things which Jesus said in Aramaic are not found in the mouth of Jesus. So if he’s a Roman citizen from Troas he has that Greco-Roman background, probably not Jewish. So he does not speak Aramaic and picks up things like that although he was in Israel for two years, and a guy whose smart, you give him two years, a person in a foreign country like that, my guess is he’s going to pick up some Aramaic. Even I picked up some Arabic when we went to church for a year outside of Bethlehem and so you pick things up. He was there for two years so he could possibly could have. Hebrew names were avoided also in the book there are no “Satan” references there. Gethsemane is not mentioned or “hosannas.” Do you remember Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem and they all say, “hosanna.” But those are all Aramaic phrases and that’s not found in the book of Luke. So again, not-these are just little indicators, but don’t prove that much just little indicators that he’s not native Jewish.
He’s grouped with the Gentiles when Paul list his buddies in Colossians chapters 4 verse 10, Luke is grouped with the Gentiles not the Jews. So he seems to be Gentile grouping there again that’s not strong.
This is one of the strongest arguments for me, in Acts 1:19 Judas goes out and hangs himself and throws the money back to the chief priest and the chief priest buys a field called the Aceldama and it says, “Aceldama, which means field of blood in their language.” Now when Luke says in the book of Acts “in their language” it means he does not speak the language. “Their language” is not his language. His language is probably going to be Greek and Latin and not Aramaic. So in “their language” he is referring to that. So he’s going to be a Gentile and not from Israel.
He explains locations too so, in chapter 1 verse 26 if you’re Jewish it would be like saying you’re an American and if somebody says LA you know where LA is you know where Las Vegas is you know where Dallas is you know where Miami, New York, Boston, Niagara Falls you know major places in America such as Minneapolis or Chicago, those types of things. Those are just common everyone in America. Here if you’re from another country you might not know cities or places you might know one or two and then you just focus on those one or two places but it’s interesting that in chapter 1 verse 26 in the book of Luke 1:26 “in the sixth month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth a town in Galilee.” Now he adds this town in Galilee. Every Jew would know Nazareth is in Galilee so if you’re writing to Jews and he himself heard you he would not put in the explanatory “a town of Galilee” so he explains locations. If you’re a native you wouldn’t do that Old Testament quotes the book of Matthew has forty quotes plus all sorts of influences in the book of Mathew Old Testament things like: “It has been written,” or “you have heard it said in old times.” Luke does away with all that. He has now very few quotes from the Old Testament and mostly when the quotes from the Old Testament come up they’re from the mouth of Jesus. Chapter 4 verse 4, chapter 4 verse 8, chapter 4 verse 12 mostly from the mouth of Jesus is when you get the Old Testament quotes.
So we have got Luke as a Gentile, Luke is not from Israel, he’s probably from north-western Turkey up by Troas up by where Troy is. You have heard of Troy from the Iliad and the Odyssey. Troas is up in that region on northwestern Turkey.
H. Are Luke and Acts
Now are Acts and Luke related? I want to basically work with this. Acts and Luke connection and these are some really really important verses were going to come back to them but let me just read Luke 1:1-4. Who is the audience? Luke is a Gentile doctor, apparently very well educated the syntax, vocabulary, and grammar of Luke is very sophisticated. I noted 800 hapax legomena words that are used one time in the New Testament, very rare words are used in the book of Luke and Acts. So Luke is a very sophisticated person in terms of his writing style. Luke chapter 1 verses 1 – 4 says this: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been filled up among us just as they were handed down to us by those who were from the first eye witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you most excellent Theophilus so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” So what you have got is Luke, yes a doctor a Gentile from northern Turkey. One of the church fathers said he was from Antioch in Syria, whatever, but he is Gentile from those territories that’s our author. And now who’s he writing to? He actually lists who he is writing to and he calls this addressee most excellent Theophilus. Now, what’s interesting is if you go over to Acts the first chapter. Now, let me just do something while I’m here now when he says, “most excellent Theophilus,” do you see that is giving this person status. So, a lot of people will believe that this Theophilus is person of status. Let me just put the cards on the table a lot of people think, and many others believe, that Luke is writing to most excellent Theophilus because, where is Paul this time? Paul is in prison? He is in prison in Rome, he made an appeal to Rome in Caesar’s court and basically what happens is then Luke is writing to most excellent Theophilus to tell most excellent Theophilus first of all about Jesus and all that took place there and also that’s why the book of Acts, after about chapter 12 or 13, has so much about Paul. So what you have is Luke writing these two books telling about Jesus and telling about Paul in order that most excellent Theophilus may throw some weight and get Paul out of jail. And so it’s possible that these two books were written to help get Paul out of jail so that he wouldn’t get killed and be executed I think that he’s writing to most excellent Theophilus, someone who can throw some weight around in terms of court.
Now, the other way that most excellent Theophilus can be taken if you break this word apart you see this word has Theo theology, Theo means God. Philus means, like Philadelphia love, philew means love like brotherly love Philadelphia. Philew means love adelphos means brotherly. Philadelphia’s the city of “brotherly love” or at least it used to be. Theophilus, lover of God, so some people think that this is kind of a moniker, a lover of God most excellent lover of God. He’s describing the character of the people to whom he’s writing to, they are lovers of God. I don’t think that’s true I think that most excellent Theophilus is the title of the person he’s writing to. He’s someone of status. Luke’s trying to present Christ and tell who Paul was to say, “now you’ve got the facts, you can go in to Caesar’s court and help Paul out and get him out of jail,” 28% of the New Testament—whoa, here we go here’s the verse I just read to you. Luke chapter 1 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us just as they have been handed down to us. As you can see he is not a first hand or eyewitness here.” Most excellent Theophilus, now the point bringing this up “so you may know the certainty of things you have been taught.” The point of this is to compare this to Acts chapter 1. In Acts chapter 1 verse 1 he says, “In my former book,” and he lists that he’s got a former book out, “in my former book Theophilus identifies the same Theophilus person that he mentioned in the book of Luke. So Theophilus is mentioned in the beginning of Luke and Theophilus is mentioned in the beginning of Acts. In the book of Acts it says, “in my former book,” so it’s--this is referring back to the book of Luke. So you get this connection between the book of Luke and Acts, both written to most excellent Theophilus by Luke chapter 1 and Acts chapter 1.
So the two books are connected there. Now, the former book we talked about going back and forth and this is not an anonymous person who wrote the book of Luke, the people know he’s writing to the most excellent Theophilus and they know who he is. It’s not, it seems to me, also the recipient knew who the “me” was the recipient, Theophilus, knew who “me” was. We said the vocabulary and style, very, very developed vocabulary, style syntactically was a very sophisticated writer.
I. What Right Does
Luke Have to Write a Gospel? [27:17-29:49]
Now, here’s the question I want to ask in terms of this Luke 1:1-4. Luke then is a Gentile; he’s not Jewish, he’s not an apostle. So what basis does Luke get to write a gospel and in the book of Acts? On what basis does Luke get to do that? We saw in the early church that Matthew, is an apostle mark gets to write but Mark gets to write Peter’s gospel under Peter’s authority. The book of John is under some debate on who wrote John but possibly John, son of Zebedee, again an apostle, the beloved disciple of Jesus. So then you got Paul writing much of the New Testament, James, the brother of Jesus, Jude the brother of Jesus, and John writing the book of Revelation. So you’ve got an apostle or someone related to an apostle. So how does Luke get inspired then and how does he get in the process of writing then? Luke never met Jesus. Luke, apparently becomes a Christian on Paul’s Second Missionary Journey [2MJ], we’re talking 51 AD this is about 20 years after Jesus died. Luke becomes a Christian, he never met Jesus he didn’t know Jesus so Luke is getting his material second hand. On what basis does Luke write solely on the basis of the Holy Spirit? If Luke was not Jewish, not a disciple and he was not an eyewitness he was not an eyewitness who saw Jesus, how does he get to write a gospel? How does he get to write a gospel when he wasn’t there first hand and wasn’t known? So what I want to do is work with this concept of what it means to be inspired for somebody who was not an eye witness like Matthew was an eyewitness and saw these things so he could confirm them and knew them. Luke could confirm them through historical research so what is the relationship of inspiration? This is the question: what is the relationship of inspiration? All scripture is God breathed, 2 Timothy 3:16 holy men of God spoke as they were moved by God’s Spirit not from themselves from 2 Peter 1:21. So, all Scripture is given by inspiration by God. What does inspiration have to do with historical research? Luke seems to be a historian of the New Testament and he seems to do historical research. What is the relationship of inspiration, the God- breathiness of Scripture with the historical research of Scripture? So we want to look through this.
J. Process of
Inspiration for Luke: FRASES [29:49-34:00]
Luke 1:1-4 gives us the best anywhere in the Bible, but the best in the New Testament description of how he actually came up with the material so this is really important in terms of having insight in how the guys are writing this stuff and I want to use this acrostic here I also use these acrostics so I can remember things FRASES “phrases” spelled with an F there I just want to work through this in light of Luke 1:1-4. First off, we know right from the start Luke says he’s not an eyewitness. Luke says “many have undertaken to draw up an account of things that have been fulfilled among us just as they were handed down to us by those who work from the first eyewitness. He himself was not an eyewitness so first thing, this is not first-hand information. Luke is using sources it is not first hand information he did not know Jesus, did not see Jesus. He did not know this is not first hand. This material was handed down to him from those who were eyewitnesses so first of all he was not a first-hand witness. So, that’s our “F” there he does research. Luke does research. This material is his historical research that’s why people call him a doctor he also seems to be doing historical research. We’ll come back to the different sources. But he says he got his information from those who were, information “was handed down to us,” so he’s in the line of tradition. Someone is handing info down, he was not an eyewitness. He does research and puts it together and then it says there were many accounts available, and Luke says this flat out “many have undertaken to draw up account.” He’s aware of many accounts.
It’s kind of interesting isn’t it, Luke is with Paul in Rome remember “everyone has deserted me; Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you.” So Luke was with Paul in Rome remember the shipwreck and he goes to Rome with Paul. John Mark is also in Rome with Peter and this is we’re talking 65, 64 AD in that time period. So Paul and Luke are there and John Mark and Peter are there. So it’s very possible, Luke says here “many have undertaken.” Let me read that again. “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the tings that have been fulfilled among us.” Luke is aware of other documents about Jesus. So he’s aware of the other accounts so is it possible then he pulls in sources from Mark Peter, from others?
So, now, and then he says, “Many have undertaken to draw up account of things among us just as they were handed down to us from those who were from the first eye witnesses servants of the word. Therefore, since I have carefully investigated (that’s the research) everything from the beginning it seemed good for me to write an orderly account to you, most excellent Theophilus.” So, basically, Luke is saying “Yeah, the other people,” he said, “I went through and tried to organize the information and I’m going to write an orderly account to you most excellent Theophilus.” And so it’s kind of neat to see Luke saying, “I’m organizing this and, “you can see that Luke is thinking about how how he is writing. He’s not just writing down and penning this off. He said, “No, I’m going to put things—there are many accounts. I’ve got many sources.” and you can see them in the old days setting up 3x5 cards. He’s going to write a paper and he’s going through and he’s organizing his material. Today we would use MS OneNote or something like that were you can organize your notes before you write your paper you get it all organized so he’s going to write a systematically orderly account, that’s his goal.
K. Eyewitness Accounts
Luke is keenly aware of eyewitnesses. He said I got the material that was handed down to me from those who were the eyewitnesses, this is the mark of a true historian; he takes things from eyewitnesses.
Now is it possible that eyewitnesses can have divergent records of the same story? There’s a story I think, I’m trying to remember who said this, but there is this story of a woman who was on the side of a road and was was basically hit by a bus this is an eyewitness account and there’s going to be two eyewitnesses, there’s going to be two eyewitnesses. In other words, I’m saying can two eyewitness accounts disagree with each other? There is a woman standing on the side of a road this is one eyewitness the first eyewitness: woman standing on the side of the road the bus hits her she was injured but not fatally and taken to the hospital she was hit by a bus injured, not killed, and taken to the hospital that’s the first eye witness. Second eyewitness: the woman was hit thrown from a car and killed instantly. Two eyewitnesses give two very different reports. What really happened in the story? One says she was hit and she was killed instantly, the other one says she was hit wasn’t killed instantly and taken to the hospital. Well, the real story happened that the woman was standing waiting for a bus, a bus hit her she was critically injured and a good Samaritan picked her up in his car and then was taking her to the hospital when his car was hit and she was thrown from the car and killed instantly. So you see here two very divergent stories and yet very different I eyewitness accounts. Luke was a good historian he was aware, of eyewitness accounts and that’s a mark of a good historian. Try to get back to the eyewitnesses accounts even if the accounts clash, he’s going to put them together and try to get the whole picture. So he’s keenly aware of whether his sources were eyewitnesses. He’s not an eyewitness himself but he acknowledges that up front. There’s, some honesty there. He uses sources from many other accounts, so he’s going to use sources and so we can look for various sources.
L. Where Did Luke Get
His Information? Paul, Silas, Mark [36:51-40:23]
Actually, that’s what I would like to do next is look at some of the sources. What kind of sources? He never met Jesus, so where’s he getting his information? It’s possible he could have known about Mark. Many people would say that Mark was written first and Matthew and Luke draw on, by the way, would that be a different draw? If Mark was used by Matthew and Matthew being there with Jesus a lot of the time so he would know first hand and would be able to condition some of the Mark source. He would say what he wanted to say in the book of Matthew. Luke, on the other hand, was not there so he uses Mark in a different way than Matthew would have. But he uses the sources.
Where did Luke get his information? He didn’t know Jesus first hand but he did know Paul who was an apostle. Paul, remember on the road to Damascus, met Jesus and so Jesus comes and meets Paul knocks him down and Paul knows Jesus and writes. He actually writes a lot of the New Testament the epistles such as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians etc. Silas knew Jesus and was around in that original community in Jerusalem. So, Paul and Silas were traveling on the Second Missionary Journey and Silas would have been there. Luke would have known Silas and Silas would have told stories of Jesus. Silas knew that kind of thing. Now while the Second Missionary Journey and the Third Missionary Journey which is not listed here but Paul, he travels with Paul, Silas, and others. He then goes to Israel for two years and this is probably is when Luke did a lot of his research for the book while he was in Jerusalem and Israel for two years. Paul’s going to be in prison and what are you going to do when your buddy’s in prison, you can’t go see him everyday in prison what are you going to do? You’re just hanging out and so my guess is, this is when he did a lot of research. He’s in Israel so he can go to Jerusalem he can go to Galilee he can go to various places and learn and do research and he’s got two years to do it. Paul’s sitting in jail and not much happening there and that kind of thing so he’s two years in Israel that gives him access to some people Peter and Mark, we mentioned this before, are in Rome the same time and 2 Timothy 4:11, we get the statement actually let’s just read this 2 Timothy 4:11. Paul is also in Rome, so you’ve got Peter, Mark and Paul in Rome. Luke is there too 2 Timothy chapter 4 “Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you because he is helpful to me in my ministry. When you come bring my cloak, I left it with Carpus at Troas and my scrolls especially the parchments. You didn’t have an iPad so he had parchments and scrolls he was calling for. Paul in 2 Timothy was facing his own death. He says, “Luke is with me,” what I’m saying Luke is in Rome so is Peter and Mark just before that time Peter and Mark actually, Peter dies before Paul does. Paul’s in prison in Rome and most people think he got free for a little bit possibly going to Spain. But the period of freedom, and then he comes back and Paul dies probably about 68 AD and Peter would die before 65 AD. So a little bit before Paul.
M. Luke Interviews Mary [40:23-46:21]
This is one I wanted to dwell on a little bit, Mary. If Mark writes Peter’s gospel, if Mark writes under Peter’s, Luke writes a lot of material about Mary. So my guess is that Luke had a very close intimate relationship with Mary in terms of interviewing her in terms of the history of Jesus Christ. So, you get a lot of Mary’s story in the book of Luke nowhere else, just in the book of Luke. So I just want to read through some of these verses and pull, so you’ll pick up on the Mary side of the story of Jesus. Luke 1:29 “Mary was greatly troubled at his words.” The angel comes to Mary and Mary is very troubled at his word “and wonders what kind of greeting this might be,” by the way, you can contrast to what who have read in Mark already and Matthew. The angel comes and talks to whom in Matthew? The angel comes and talks to Joseph because Joseph is struggling to divorce Mary because she’s pregnant, he knows it’s not him, and so he’s saying, “Whoa, what’s going on here?” So he’s thinking about divorcing Mary privately. The angel comes to Joseph in the book of Matthew chapter 1. Here in the book of Luke 1:29 you see Mary is “greatly troubled at his words (the angel’s words) and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” Luke gives you Mary’s side. In Luke 2:19, the shepherds coming to the birth of Jesus. By the way, were there shepherds in Matthew coming to the birth of Jesus? Why do you think the shepherds arrive? Have you ever seen one of those Christmas crèche now, in the Christmas crèche you’ve got the wisemen on one side and the shepherds on the other with baby Jesus and the animals and Mary and Joseph in the middle, right? So you’ve got the shepherds and the wisemen baby Jesus in the manger with the animals. Actually, the truth is that the wise men came they come to Herod, saying, “Where is he one who was born king of the Jews.” It was like two years later. So what you got is with Herod you’ve got the wisemen probably coming two years later. So the shepherds were long gone. The angels came and said, “Go this day to the town of Bethlehem, the king has been born.” Then Jesus is born then in Bethlehem of Judea the angels come down of “hosanna” or whatever and the angels go “Praise God in the highest” kind of thing. Luke then records the shepherds. The shepherds were there, probably right after, around the birth of Christ, right immediately from the fields of Bethlehem. Luke picks that up and it’s probably Mary and notice it says further after the shepherds coming to the birth of Jesus picked up in Luke not picked up anywhere else, “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” What’s that telling you? What’s going on inside Mary? Now, who would know that a Luke would know that if he interviewed Mary. So this again second thing, she treasured all these things up in her heart and it’s telling us the inside of Mary.
Here’s another one: Simeon’s blessing on Jesus at the temple. So Simeon, do you remember, this is chapter 2 verse 33. Simeon’s that old man and the old man picks up baby Jesus and then he was waiting for the consolation of Israel. God says, “Simeon, you aren’t going to die until you see God’s anointed. Simeon, you’re the man, you’re going to see Jesus you’re going to see the son of David. You’re going to see the Messiah that everybody’s hoping to see before you die Simeon.” This is a wonderful story of this old man picking up the baby Jesus and blessing him in the temple there. It says what ok so you got Simeon this old man waiting for the Messiah to come and God says, “you’re going to see it.” So what happened when Joseph and Mary bring the child to the temple and it says, “the child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.” So even as a baby Simeon picks him up and Mary and Joseph see Simeon and see these wonderful things said about their child Jesus. It says “the child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.” Who would know that--Joseph seems to be dead earlier we don’t read much about Joseph the father of Jesus. After the birth narrative he seems to be long gone but here it seems we have the father and mother marveling at what was said. That’s chapter 2 verse 33. And then last thing with this theme, chapter 2 verse 51. It says, “then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.” So they go to Nazareth, he was obedient to them, but “his mother treasured all these things in her heart and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.” Who would know that about what was happening early in Nazareth? Jesus’ mother. He was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart kind of reminds me of my own wife and her children she can go back and tell all these infant stories about how so and so nursed and the early years of our children. My wife narrates these stories and she treasures them up in her heart. Those are really great moments in our family when our children are young. Now, they are old and it’s all different. Anyways this is what a mother would remember all these early stories and so you get Luke chapter 1 and 2 the only place in the Bible you get these early stories of Jesus. Luke seems to have, my guess and others actually as well, interviewed Mary and gives you Mary’s side of the story.
N. When was Luke Written? [46:21-51:33]
While Paul was in jail for two years in Jerusalem and then Caesarea Luke was apparently going around interviewing people like Mary. So Mary’s gospel, Mary’s stories most people would say before 65 AD.
Paul was still awaiting his first imprisonment. We said he’s going to go free for a little bit and then go back for his second imprisonment, that’s probably 2 Timothy 4. This time he’s hopeful he’s going to get out, it’s possible then what we’re suggesting is the book of Acts, was written to get Paul out jail and so he’s writing to most excellent Theophilus beginning in the book of Luke and continuing to Acts so, Theophilus will be able to go in and help Paul in his case and get him out of jail. Therefore, it has to be early because Paul’s going to die about 68 AD. So there’s got to be time enough to get free time to get back into jail and be tried again and then be put to death. Peter will be crucified upside down, as we said Peter said he’s not worthy to die like Jesus so he was crucified upside down, pretty brutal. Remember Peter denied Christ. Peter died of crucifixion himself. Peter was a Jew so they would be able to crucify him, very painful death. We know Paul, on the other hand, was a Roman citizen, because he was born in Tarsus, lower in eastern Turkey. He was a Roman citizen. Therefore, they couldn’t crucify him they had to behead him. So Paul would have been beheaded as a Roman citizen.
Now, what’s interesting here, again, when was the book written? We’ve got this statement in the book of Luke mentioning, this, basically that the temple would be destroyed and let me just read a little bit of this if I can, from chapter 21 down about to verse 20. This is kind of, I believe it’s in the discourse they’re talking about the end of the age says, “when you see Jerusalem.” This is chapter 21 verse 20. “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies you will know its desolation is near.” So, here you have the desolation of Jerusalem. When is the desolation of Jerusalem? Titus comes in at 70 AD, this is an important date for us. The second temple the Jews revolt and the 70 AD Titus comes in wipes out Jerusalem and destroys the temple, throws down every rock of the temple. We’ve actually got those rocks in Get Lost in Jerusalem, you can go to the south wall excavation you can look at the rocks, the very rocks that were from the second temple that were thrown down. “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know the desolation is near.” Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out. Let those in the country not enter the city [the city of Jerusalem], for this is a time of punishment and fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers. There will be great distress in the land. Wrath against its people they will fall by the sword and be taken prisoners to all the nations Jerusalem will be trampled on by all the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” And so you’ve got this kind of apocalyptic description of Jerusalem and destruction of Jerusalem that would happen in 70 AD now, critics then who could not take Jesus prophesying anything claiming prophecy has to be after the even we’ve talked about this before vaticinium post eventu. What that means is basically that critics can’t accept Jesus knowing the future, critics can’t accept two things: miracles; Jesus can’t do miracles because miracles don’t happen everything is natural, science accounts for everything there can’t be such things as miracles. So miracles have to be gotten rid of. I’m talking about modernism now 19th century/20th century. Now were into post-modern so miracles are back. So 20th century there were no miracles and you couldn’t prophesy things ahead of time. So they have to date the book of Luke then after 70 AD saying “Luke is looking back at the destruction of Jerusalem rather than Jesus is looking forward to it. So we would disagree with that saying, “No, no by 70 AD Paul’s dead, long gone, not only is he in prison the first time he gets this period of freedom he’s in prison the second time and then killed 68 AD, Paul’s dead two years so this is too late you aren’t going to write most excellent Theophilus and say, “Hey, Paul’s a dead man what are you going to do get him buried after he’s dead for two years. So anyway this argument doesn’t work. The book of Luke, of course, comes after Mark. So, that would push Mark back again to a time before the 70 AD period.
O. Set in a Roman Time Frame [51:33-54:14]
It’s interesting, with the book of Luke is he sets his book in a roman time frame. Luke sets the book in a Roman time frame when he says this in Luke 2:1: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that the census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” Notice he identifies Caesars Augustus that’s very helpful to us. We know the Caesars so when he says Caesar Augustus you see he’s putting the life of Christ in the bigger theme of Rome, Caesar Augustus “this was the first census that would took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” So now we have this Quirinius who is the governor of Syria, we’ve got two things Caesar Augustus and Quirinius to work from chapter 2 verse 1. Chapter 3 verse 1 we get a similar thing “in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar.” That’s really helpful “In the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. “We know the Caesar’s Roman history. The 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, we can identify that. When Pontus Pilate was governor of Judea we know external sources about Pontus Pilate being over Judea, Pontus Pilate being the one who would be there and wash his hands when Jesus was condemned to death. Herod Antipas tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip the tetrarch of Perea and Tracanitus during the high priesthood Annas and Caiphas so we’ve got a list of the Caesars, Pontus Pilate is governor, Herod Antipas we’ve got these guys Philip and also the two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas so we’ve got all these people we can link historically to the book of Luke. Luke is a good historian and leaves a trail for us to discover all these connections to the outside world. This therefore helps us to locate Jesus in terms of this Tiberius Caesar, Pontus Pilate, Caiaphas and Philip, etc. Luke is really helpful. Luke is a historian, most excellent Theophilus a community or helping Paul’s case. If you take it as Theophilus as “lover of God” then it’s a broad statement that Luke is writing to anyone that is a lover of God to a broad community. I don’t think that’s probably right. Most likely, I think he’s writing to most excellent Theophilus to help Paul’s case around the pre-65 AD before Paul’s going go to trial to get Paul released from prison from Rome.
P. The Holy Spirit in Luke—John the Baptist [54:14-57:01]
Now I want to switch over, we’re going to go to the characteristics of the book of Luke and I want to cover one of the characteristics today and I’m going to use again this goofy acrostic and I’m sorry but that’s how I remember things: HCDSPPP. So if anybody works for spss its stats program for social sciences, kind of remember the spss. HHCD and that’s SPPPP, those are the characteristics of the book of Luke. So this is kind as far as the acrostics. Let’s look through this. Luke seems to be the writer of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. He mentions a lot of the Holy Spirit. As soon as I say the book of Acts, as soon as I say Acts chapter 2 many of the students here. Pentecostal charismatic you say Acts chapter 2 is the coming of the Spirit, the speaking of tongues, all that with Acts chapter 2. There’s even a musical group called Acts chapter 2. So that’s all Luke. The Holy Spirit coming down after Christ ascends into heaven the ascension after the resurrection. He raises from the dead the ascension, he returns to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. As he goes up Christ ascends and the Holy Spirit comes down that’s in Pentecost and the Pentecost whole experience is in Acts 2.
Let’s go back to the book of Luke. Luke is going to write about the Holy Spirit coming down in Acts 2, but what about before that. What we’ve got is some interesting things here, Luke narrates the Holy Spirit coming on the key figures in the book of Luke. You have the Holy Spirit, for example, John the Baptist. This is Luke 1:15 concerning john the Baptist “for he will be great in the sight of the Lord he will never take wine or fermented drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words, he will not be filled with wine he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Now it’s interesting here is you get he will not take wine or fermented drink it seems John the Baptist maybe be a Nazirite. Do you remember Numbers 6. Numbers talks about the Nazirite. So John the Baptist, no wine for him and he will be filled, instead of being filled with wine he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth that’s John the Baptist filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s pretty neat.
Q. The Holy Spirit in Luke—Zacharias, Mary, Simeon and Jesus
Now, if you go over to another, Zacharias, this is John the Baptist’s father, his father was Zacharias, and his mother was Elizabeth. It says his father Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. So here’s Zacharias, he’s a apparently a priest of some sort. He’s filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, praise be to the Lord the God of Israel because he has come and redeemed his people. So he is prophesied by the Holy Spirit that’s the prophesying. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires people. By the way, let me just go back to remember we just talked about Luke doing historical research does that mean that the process of inspiration can involve doing historical research. The answer is “yes” its “inspiration.” When I was younger I thought it was the Holy Spirit coming down and whispering in someone’s ear pick up your pen and write this: “in the beginning God created the heavens and earth” or “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The author was like the scribe the dictation theory were the Spirit dictates in his ear. No, Luke does historical research and that’s part of the inspiration process. Zacharias, he’s prophesying here and then chapter 1 verse 35 guess who, since this is Mary’s gospel, and what do we have about Mary? “How will this be?” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin.” The angel answered, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, so the holy one to be born will be called the son of God. The Holy Spirit, Mary, “is going to come on you.” So Mary has now got the Holy Spirit, coming on her and that accounts for the birth of Christ as she is a virgin. Mary, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you.” Simeon remember my buddy, the old man there waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Now, this is pre-Acts 2 this is when Jesus was born, the Holy Spirit has come upon him and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Now Simeon says, “Now depart” Nunc dimittis “now let your servant depart for I’ve seen the Lord’s Christ.” Now let me go home. This is a beautiful statement by Simeon. The Holy Spirit had come on him and told him these things ahead of time.
So the Holy Spirit there and then of course we couldn’t complete this section without Jesus. What is the relationship of Jesus and the Holy Spirit? The other gospels it’s not featured as much but it says chapter 4 verse 1 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days are at the end of them he was hungry.” So this was Luke chapter 4 when Jesus was coming from his baptism. Jesus is full of the Spirit. He returns from the Jordan River and goes out to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan full of the Holy Spirit. So Jesus himself is full of the Holy Spirit and so Luke, then, we put Acts 2 up there. Acts 2 is the tremendous passage with the Holy Spirit coming down at Pentecost and Acts 2. So Luke picks up the theme of the Holy Spirit.
I think actually we can probably end now. Next time I’m going to want to talk about Christ being human, Luke talks about Christ being the perfect human being. So we’ll discuss the human side of Christ. Now I want to explore that because I think as Christians we see Christ as God, we can lose his humanity, as we mentioned before. Remember Christ got angry in the book of Mark, we kind of lose the fact that Christ might have gotten angry disappointed, that Christ suffered we get his suffering. We want to explore the humanity of Christ next time but let’s just end with Simeon saying by the Holy Spirit and he says, “Now I’ve seen the Christ.” He says, “Now I can depart.” So that Nunc Dimittis means “now depart” and I think that’s an appropriate way to end this segment. Now, we can say, “now depart” and so let us depart and we’ll pick up and try to finish the book of Luke next time. Thanks for being with us.
by Alex Carnes
Edited by Ben Bowden
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt