Old Testament: Joshua 11 & 12
Psalms: Psalm 100
New Testament: Luke Intro below & Luke 1:1-4
Gospel of Luke Introduction
The gospel of Luke was written by Luke the physician (Col 4:14), who traveled with Paul. Luke was a gentile who learned about Jesus through careful research from eye witnesses. Luke wrote the gospel of Luke (the longest Gospel), and the book of Acts – which combined make Luke the most prolific writer in the New Testament.
The gospel of Matthew was written to a Jewish audience, Mark was written to a Roman audience. Luke was written to Theophilus, for a Gentile audience – to assure Theophilus the truth of what he had been taught about Jesus. Multiple times, Luke stressed that salvation was for the Gentiles. For example, Luke 2:30-32, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke highlighted Jesus’ love for and ministry to outcasts, including: immoral women, Samaritans, runaways, tax collectors, lepers, and criminals. Luke also emphasized Jesus’ prayer life.
The gospel of Luke starts with the story of John the Baptist’s birth, and details the familiar birth of Jesus. Luke then details Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The majority of the book focuses on Jesus’ heading to Jerusalem – where he knew he would be crucified. (Luke 9:51 says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”) Luke then records Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Luke is the only gospel to detail the story of Jesus’ joining two men on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. I find this story moving. I love their response as recorded in Luke 24: 32, “They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
I pray that your heart will be burning within you as you let Jesus speak to you as you open the Scriptures to read the book of Luke.
DEVOTION by Juliet
There were many who tried to compile an account about the things accomplished by the disciples of Jesus, as handed down to them by the eyewitnesses and servants of the word, but it was Luke’s compilation that made the cut.
Luke investigated everything carefully from the beginning (of Jesus’s ministry) and wrote it out in consecutive order. He wanted his reader(s) to know the exact truth about the things that he was learning, which meant that his reader could have been believing some things in error, even though his reader was learning things not too long after there were eyewitnesses to Jesus’s ministry. This should cause us to pause and be mindful of all that we know or think we know.
Truth matters. We should all endeavor to be careful to investigate everything written about and spoken by Jesus, because in him is the knowledge of salvation.
Did you notice though that Luke’s intro makes a statement we don’t often hear? He said his compilation was an account of the things accomplished by the eyewitnesses and servants of the word, or of the gospel. Whether the “word” here represents Jesus or the entirety of the gospel message, which you find in Jesus the Christ, I am not sure. What I am sure of is that if you want to be a servant of the word, the gospel, you should probably know what it is, desire it, and serve.
Do you know the word, the gospel? Do you desire it, both to know it and serve it? Do you know what it means to serve the word, the gospel? If we don’t, we should investigate it carefully, just like Luke did, to serve it rightly, in truth and without error. But that can be difficult.
The god of this world, Satan, has blinded the minds of those who will perish without the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). That’s why we have such a great commission set before us as his disciples, to make known to the world the word, which is the gospel of the kingdom of God, which is found in Jesus, who is in the image of God, which leads to salvation.
God wants none to perish, but without the knowledge of the word, the gospel, Jesus, we will perish. It is our service to the word to preach the gospel.
Notice again that Luke says, “servants of the word,” not just knowledge bearers of the word. It follows that if you are servants of the word, that your life and your character will reflect that. If you are servants of the word, then you will be a person that serves self-sacrificially, to whatever extent is needed in the plan of God, for the salvation of others.
Within our commission, we may have specific tasks that God grants us to do for him on an individual basis to accomplish his work. If we want to know what that work is, we have to get to serving. The more we do for him through Christ, the more service he will give us to do work with while his son is away.
In Joshua, we read about his service and sacrifice to God for the salvation of others, which involved conquering all the lands that God told him to conquer, to be the one through whom he would give his people of his time the promised land. But he didn’t become this servant of the words God spoke to him just because he acknowledged that what was spoken by God was true. He became this servant because of his service to do what God told him to do, reflecting his character, his faith in God to do what he said he’d do.
In Psalm 100, we can read about one of many services that David is well known for. He brought the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God when he came before him, acknowledging who his God was often, acknowledging his name Yahweh, and the work of his hands, namely, us. The byproduct of David’s service reflects his heart, his character, which is after God’s own heart.
Through Luke’s personal service and sacrifice to God through his narrative, we’ll read about our Messiah Jesus, and see his self-sacrificial service embedded in his entire life, written in consecutive order. Once his ministry began, the man didn’t even have a place to call home, as he was too busy serving others to settle in one location. His servitude and devotion to his God culminated in his final earthly work at his death on the cross, leading to the salvation of all.
Remember as we read Luke’s narrative that he was one of only 4 writers out of many whose compilation succeeded in becoming what are commonly referred to as “the gospels”. What an accomplishment! This tells me that if you want to be servers of the word, you’ve got to have a desire to do it and to do it with everything that is in you, because that’s the person you’ve become after receiving the knowledge of Christ.
As we continue on in our reading in Luke chapter 1, let’s take note of all the witnesses and servants of the word with the same careful investigation that Luke gave to his narrative. While we search for the exact truth about the things we’ve been taught, let’s examine the servitude and character of the people who were closest to Jesus, as well as the consequences that followed. After gaining the knowledge of what was accomplished by the original servants of the word, the gospel, let’s get to being the servants of the word of our generation.
- Luke’s narrative was written in consecutive order. Do you know how the other three narratives that met the gospel cut were ordered?
- How are you a servant of the word?
- What character trait do you want to portray to others after being a servant of the word?