Preface to the Gospel of Luke
Years ago, a friend passed along this bit of advice, given to him by an elderly Christian statesman: “The older I get the more I find myself in the Gospels.” While I don’t want to admit that I’m getting older, I do find myself strangely drawn to the Gospels. While each of the Gospels makes its own unique contribution to the message of the Bible, the Gospel of Luke is one of the high water marks of biblical revelation. Come with me, to study the account of a man who apparently never laid eyes upon the Lord Jesus personally, but who did a very skillful job of researching the accounts of his birth, life, death, and resurrection, and then communicating them in a most orderly way.
The author, Luke, was a doctor, and a traveling companion of Paul, whose second inspired account (the Book of Acts) is the only recorded history of the birth of the church, and of the expansion of the gospel from Jerusalem to the “uttermost part of the earth.”
The church would be greatly deprived if it did not possess the Gospel of Luke as a part of the inspired canon of Scripture. It is Luke’s Gospel which provides us with many of the details concerning the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. His genealogy of our Lord is distinctly different from the only other genealogy, found in Matthew’s Gospel. Luke gives us an account of the divine visitations to Zacharias and Mary, of the circumstances surrounding the birth of our Lord in Bethlehem, and of the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds. We are told by Luke alone of the recognition of Jesus as the promised Messiah by Simeon and Anna, and of the visit of our Lord to Jerusalem at the age of 12. The parables of the prodigal son and of the rich man and Lazarus are found only in Luke. Luke’s account alone includes the story of the appearance of our Lord to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Luke’s Gospel is a literary masterpiece, a beautiful story masterfully told. Luke has given us an extensive account of our Lord’s final journey to Jerusalem, where He is rejected and crucified, and where He is raised from the dead. And the greatest source of beauty and wonder is not the skill of the human writer, but the glory and majesty of the divine subject of the Gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ. You will meet Jesus here over and over again, and you will find Him ever more lovely in the light of Luke’s description of Him.
So come along with us as we commence this study of the Gospel of Luke. It is my prayer that you will never be the same.