An overview of the book of Luke to help you when you read it
A Gentile A Greek Author also of Acts
Not one of the twelve apostles or an eyewitness of the sufferings of Christ.
A Medical Doctor Educated man and keen observer
Companion of Paul
Luke is the only Non-Jewish writer of the New Testament (Mark: Half-Jew)
THEME: The Humanity of Christ – – Jesus – The Son of Man
Luke the physician focuses upon the humanity of the LORD Jesus Christ. The family tree of the Son of man records the ancestors of Mary to the first man, Adam.
The man Christ Jesus is also portrayed by the man-like cherub and the man whose name is the Branch (Zechariah 6:12; Rev. 4:7). The LORD inspired Matthew the publican to focus upon the King of the Jews, Mark the servant to focus upon the ministry of the Prophet, and Luke the physician to record the manhood of the LORD of glory with great details of His virgin birth.
KEY PHRASE: Son of Man (Found 26 times)
KEY VERSE: Luke 19:10
DATE: 60 A.D.
INTRODUCTION: Go back to the same thought that we have been discussing for the past two weeks, that of the purpose of the four Gospels. Each was written by a different man to show Jesus in a different light.
Matthew was written to show Him as the King.
Mark was written to show Him as a servant.
Luke was written to show Him as a man.
John was written to show Him as God.
It is very important to remember that each author believed that Jesus was the other three things as well as that on which he placed emphasis! In other words, Matthew believed that besides being the King, Jesus was a servant, a man and God. Mark believed that He was more than just a servant, that He was also the King, man and God. Luke believed that He was more than a man, that He was also the King, a servant and God. John believed that He was God, but that He was also the King, a servant and man. They are not contradictory. They are simply seeing the same Person from a different viewpoint. The next two gospel writers will introduce not the role of Christ, but the nature of Christ. Luke will show us Jesus Christ as the perfect man while John will show us Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God.
Luke begins with a preface to outline the purpose of the book. The purpose was to present an orderly account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles. This organized record was addressed to Theophilus. The title most excellent implies Theophilus was a Roman official (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25). This organized account is recorded in two volumes with the book of Acts as the sequel. Luke began with the forerunner of Jesus Christ and ended with the chosen Apostle of God for the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Rom. 11:13; 15:16). Luke records the two official rejections of Jesus Christ by the unpardonable sin and the martyrdom of Stephen (Luke 12:10; Acts 7:51-53); therefore, Luke reveals the complete transition from the kingdom of heaven to the kingdom of God and from Judaism to Christianity (Luke 17:20-21).
The Gospels are 48% of the New Testament
The Synoptic Gospels
Matthew, Mark and Luke are “Synoptic.”
“Syn” – together, “optic” – seen Synoptic – Seen together
John is unique
|Unique to itself||Similar to the others|
Only 3 Events Are Found In All Four Gospels
LUKE HIMSELF WAS A PHYSICIAN.
Colossians 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
HE WAS BELOVED OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. Colossians 4:14.
HE WAS A NATIVE OF ANTIOCH IN SYRIA.
This was the location of the great church that sent Paul and Barnabas to the mission field. It was the home church of the Apostle Paul. It was a church that witnessed. It was the church where Christians were first called “Christians.” Antioch was the church that helped the church in Jerusalem when the saints there were in need. It was one of the great churches; in fact, many think it was the greatest church in the New Testament age. At any rate, Luke was from this place. Perhaps he was converted there and was one of their preacher boys. Perhaps he was already a physician in Antioch upon his conversion.
THE BOOK OF LUKE IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE FOUR GOSPELS WRITTEN BY ONE WHO WAS NOT AN EYE WITNESS OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.
THERE ARE THOSE WHO THINK THAT LUKE WAS A GREEK. On the other hand, there are those who think he was a Jew living under the Greek culture of Antioch. At any rate, his Gospel was written to present Christ to the Greeks. He was well qualified to do this, for he was a man of education. He was a man acquainted with the Greek culture. He was a physician, which was a profession almost entirely in the hands of the Greeks in those days. Hence, the Lord used him to write a Gospel that was written primarily for the sake of the Greeks, who despised the Christian faith.
Gregory, the bishop of Constantinople in the fourth century, states that Luke wrote in Greek and also for the Greeks .
THE KEY VERSE OF LUKE IS LUKE 19:10, “FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.” Since Luke is trying to show us that Jesus was a man, and since he stresses the humanity of Christ, this becomes the key verse. There is a reason why Luke stresses the manhood of Jesus. The Grecian people combined the ideals of perfection and universality in stressing the importance of man. The Greeks’ philosophy tried to improve man, and their hope was that by improving man, the perfect man could evolve! Luke seizes upon this to get the Gospel to them. They are trying to make the perfect man; Luke shows than the perfect Man, even Jesus Christ. The Greeks had tried to develop a society of perfect people. They stressed both physical ability (by way of the Olympic games) while also stressing mental ability, as seen in the great minds from that period of history (Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and Sophocles). Their stress upon human perfection is also reflected in their religion as they created gods in the form of man. (Apollo, Zeus, Venus and Diana). In other words, Luke is saying to them, “You have been trying to make the perfect man–I have found Him; here He is!
LUKE WAS A LOYAL HELPER AND COMPANION TO THE APOSTLE PAUL. He joined Paul at Troas. Notice Acts 16:10-17. Here the word “we” is used for the first time. Luke wrote the entire book of Acts, but he does not talk in the first person until Acts 16. (Teacher, stress the importance of the pupils being faithful and helpful. Stress the importance of the follower.) Luke is not the leader; he is a loyal follower.
LUKE USED HIS PROFESSION FOR JESUS CHRIST. The Apostle Paul was not a well man. Hence, as he went into far countries he felt the need of a personal physician. (Teacher, stress to the pupils the importance of using our professions for Jesus and becoming what He wants us to become. Carpenters, painters, plumbers, lawyers, doctors and others can be used of God as helpers in the Lord’s work.)
LUKE WAS VERY LOYAL AND FAITHFUL TO THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE END!
2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
He remained his companion and continued with him, probably to the close of his life. In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul mentions that Luke was with him during his second imprisonment. When Paul was in trouble, Luke was with him. When the sun was shining, Luke was there. When it was raining, Luke was there. He was the kind of fellow who was dependable, loyal and faithful. (Teacher, stress the importance of this adjective. Lead the pupils to give themselves to their friends and to the cause of Christ. Stress faithfulness to the services, faithfulness in standing for Christ, faithfulness in standing by the Preacher, faithfulness in standing by the church, etc.)
THE GOSPEL OF LUKE IS LESS CHRONOLOGICAL THAN THOSE OF MARK AND JOHN. It is more detailed. It does not cover as many of the same events as do the others. Nearly one-third of the subject matter is peculiar to this Gospel. For example, while Matthew deals with six things pertaining to the birth, infancy, childhood and later life of Jesus in Nazareth, Luke deals with twelve. Again, Luke was interested in showing Him as a man, so he dealt with the things unique to human life. On the other hand, only three of the seven parables of the kingdom found in Matthew 13 are given in Luke. In other words, though Luke believed that Jesus was the King, he leaned heavily toward the events which deal with His humanity. He leaned away from the parables of the kingdom which Matthew used to picture Jesus as the King.
JESUS WAS HUMAN! (Teacher, lead the class to discuss things that show His humanity. For example, He thirsted, as is mentioned on the cross. He was weary, as we find in John 4 when He sat on the well because he was tired. He became hungry and needed food for His physical strength. He wept at the grave of Lazarus. See how many other things the class can think of that point to the humanity of Jesus.)
XII. THE WORDS, “THE SON OF MAN,” ARE VITAL TO THE BOOK OF LUKE. Over and over again these words, “the Son of Man,” are used. This is why so much is given in Luke about the mother of Jesus and about His childhood.
XIII. THE PARABLES THAT LUKE GIVES SHOW THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST. Luke was always concerned about the human interest stories and parables. For example, it is Luke who gave the parables about the prodigal son, the lost coin, the lost sheep, the good Samaritan, the parable of the great supper, etc. Luke was intensely interested in the lost, and so he wrote to the new Grecian Christians to try to get than to share his burden for the unsaved.
More Lessons From Luke
Luke 6:17-21 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
This sermon bears some similarities with the Sermon on the Mount, but it is not the same sermon. This sermon was delivered on a plain after the Apostles were chosen.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
This great question did not ask to do what you think the LORD meant. The famous quote in the OT is thus saith the LORD (Ex. 4:22-23), not thus meaneth the LORD. The LORD says what He means and means what He says. If God is your LORD, obey what He says!
Luke 9:49-50 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
The bottom line issue of fellowship is final authority. Men cannot agree completely about beliefs; but if a man has a sinless final authority in the pure words of God, the spirit of grace allows that man to tolerate the differences (Rom. 14:5). Spiritual maturity does not demand or expect 100% blind loyalty. No one is to be blindly loyal to any man or any human institution. Liberty allows growth in grace for every child of God (2 Cor. 3:17-18; Gal. 5:1; 2 Peter 3:18).
Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
The title Holy Spirit occurs seven times in the Bible and this is the only occurrence when both words are capitalized (Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 63:10-11; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 1 thess. 4:80. The title Holy Ghost occurs 90 times (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35; John 14:26; Acts 19:2) and the title Holy Ghost is faithful to the resurrected Christ Jesus because a Ghost is the departed spirit of man, but a spirit can be an unclean spirit that counterfeits the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. 11:4)
Luke 12:13-15 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Covetousness is a subtle killer of the truth (Matt. 13:22; Mark 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
The answer to this question shocks worldly people and carnal Christians. The first attempt of man for world unity was ruined by God with multiple languages (Gen. 11:1-9). The motive for religious ecumenicism, racial integration, and world unity is to overthrow the Lord God and the authority of His word. (Psalm 2:1-3; Mark 3:6; Luke 23:12). A true Christian doesn’t seek to unify all believers.
Luke 15:4-7 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
The greatest joy on earth is receiving eternal salvation by the grace of God, but the second greatest joy is winning someone to the LORD Jesus (Prov. 11:30; 1 Thess. 2:19-20). The crown for soul winners is called the crown of rejoicing.
Luke 16:15-16 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Man highly esteem the arts, civilization, culture, education, fame, fornication, kingdoms, money, music, pleasures, religion, science, sports, and the things of the world (1 John 2:15).
John the Baptist was martyred after the unpardonable sin; therefore, the restoration of the kingdom of heaven to Israel was temporarily delayed (Matt. 12:31-32). The spiritual kingdom of God was instituted at the death of the Savior (Hebrews 9:16-17).
The unpardonable sin was connected with saying something about Jesus Christ while He was on earth. It cannot be committed by a Christian because the Son of Man is not on earth, but a person can be given over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:24-28; 2 Cor. 13:5) and he can be in danger of committing the sin unto death (1 John 5:16). The unpardonable sin does not involve adultery, murder, or suicide. It is not ascribing to Satan the healing and miracles of Charismatic evangelists and it is not the final rejection of Christ. The unpardonable sin was committed on the scribes said that Jesus had an unclean spirit. The paragraph marks reveal the context. The scribes said that Jesus had Beelzebub. That was the unpardonable sin.
OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF LUKE
A PERFECT MAN MUST BE BLAMELESS.
Born without a sin nature.
Luke 1:35 – And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
In order to by-pass the sin-nature of man, it was vital for Jesus Christ to be conceived by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, Jesus did not have a human, biological father; therefore He had no sin-nature.
Lived without sinning.
Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Satan tempted Christ:
To put His desires before God’s.
Luke 4:3 – “And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”
(1) Is it a sin to eat bread?
No, unless God’s desire is that you don’t.
To take a short-cut to Calvary.
Luke 4:7 – If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
(1) Satan showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world which He would receive by worshiping him. He was offered a crown without a cross – but that wasn’t the plan of His Father.
To turn God into a puppet.
Luke 4:9 – And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
(1) In all of these temptations, Satan tried to get Christ to do one thing – act independent of His Father.
II A PERFECT MAN MUST BE COMPASSIONATE.
He cared for the sick.
Luke 5:12-13 – And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Notice that Jesus did not limit His healing to those who could “bankroll” His ministry; He usually helped the helpless.
One of the most God-pleasing ministries that we have is the Bus Ministry which produces almost nothing in offerings. But God continues to supply our needs.
He cared for His own.
Luke 6:1-2 – And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
When His disciples were seen gleaning corn from one of the fields on the Sabbath, Christ defended them by declaring that the day was not as important as the One who owned the Sabbath. Too bad the Pharisees spent more time looking for the faults of others than their own.
He cared for the broken-hearted.
Luke 7:12-15 – Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
This passage shows the compassion of Christ in such a magnificent way.
He taught the people how to approach the Father – through prayer!
Prayer is learned!
Luke 11:1 – And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
Here we find the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray – and He did so. Prayer is not a matter of personality, charisma, or ability. Prayer is spiritual exercise and it can only be learned by doing!
Prayer is asking!
For our personal needs – “our daily bread.” – Lk. 11:3
For forgiveness of our sins. (Lk. 11:4)
For the needs of others. (Lk. 11:5-8) In this passage, we are taught one of the greatest secrets in prayer – DON’T QUIT! Prayer is not a one-time asking – it is bombarding heaven with our requests and not giving up until we get an answer.
Luke 12:10 – And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
This is the sin of resisting the specific work of the Holy Spirit in convicting a sinner’s heart. It is not an act as much as an attitude (permanent rejection)!
He gave all people fair warning concerning the result of His coming – it would cause division.
Luke 12:51 – Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
III. A PERFECT MAN MUST BE FAITHFUL.
In His mission.
Luke 15:4 – What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Christ uses this parable to underline the one great purpose for His coming – “to seek and to save that which was lost.”
In His mercy.
Luke 15:22 – But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
Christ illustrates His longing to forgive wicked sinners and to welcome them into the arms of the Father through the main character of this parable – the forgiving father.
In His message.
Luke 16:22-23 – And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Jesus was faithful in His preaching – both of grace and of judgment. He was faithful to warn the wicked of the reality of eternal hell fire.
In His martyrdom.
Luke 23:46-47 – And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
When He had dismissed His spirit and voluntarily given His life, a Roman soldier, having witnessed the entire crucifixion, testified of His death – “Certainly this was a righteous man.”