Gospel of Luke

Group 2

About the Author

  • Luke (aka "Luke the Beloved") was a Gentile Christian

  • Syrian from Antioch

  • Non-Palestinian writing to non-Palestinian audience

    • Elimination of specifically Jewish Christian concerns from sources

    • Incomplete knowledge of Palestinian geography, customs, and practices

    • Substitution of Greek names for Aramaic or Hebrew names

  • Not a contemporary of Jesus - not an eyewitness to the historical Jesus

  • Could have possibly accompanied Paul on his missionary tours - highly debated
  • Also wrote Acts of the Apostles

About the Audience

  • Greek-speaking Gentile Christians represented by Theophilus

    • Theophilus - means lover of God, may have been a Greek/Roman official, perhaps a well-to-do patron, who underwrote the expenses of publishing his work

  • Non-Jewish audience who were not accustomed to Jewish beliefs or practices and lived in a society dominated by Greek culture and language

  • Non-Palestinian audience (Greek)


Portrait of Christ

  • Gospel that portrays Jesus mostly as savior.

  • Savior for all peoples: merciful, compassionate, with a special concern for poor people, women, and gentiles

  • God wants to reverse situation/treatment of the poor and lowly so Jesus becomes the suffering servant Messiah

  • Focus on compassion and mercy: all repentant sinners will be welcome in the Kingdom

    • Many accounts of people being forgiven in this gospel than others

  • Jesus is ‘eschatological prophet’: prophet bc misunderstood and opposed, died a faithful prophet. doesn’t reform the world but fulfills

Portrait of Mary: Model Disciple

  • Mary image for Catholics comes from this Gospel

  • Free from original sin from the moment of her conception because she was the "favored one" and "The Lord was with her"

  • She said yes to God's will for her; agreeing to listen to God begins Jesus' mission

  • Magnificat is a statement of God's faithfulness, mercy and fulfillment of promises

  • Mary is model of faithful servant waiting for God's salvation and new life as disciple of Jesus

  • Receives the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit as a Character

  • In the Gospel, Holy Spirit guides Jesus in all that he does

  • Whenever God the Father sends his Son, he always sends the Holy Spirit with him

  • Holy Spirit and Jesus share mission: to bring us back to God

  • Present at Baptism, the beginning of his ministry, present with him throughout ministry

  • Spirit usually expressed as spirit, breath, or wind, often expressed in nature (i.e. dove)

  • Sets Holy Spirit up to play a big role in Acts of the Apostles

  • Luke Chapter 2 & 3

Interesting Facts about the Gospel

  • Luke is the only synoptic gospel writer to call Jesus savior.
  • Because Luke spoke Greek, it is thought that he used more extensive vocabulary and richer language.
  • Throughout the gospel various canticles are included. For example Mary's Magnificat or Zechariah's Benedictus. They are believed to be traditional Jewish Hymns and not written by Luke. Below is a video of the hymn 'Holy is His Name' which is largely influenced by Mary's Magnificat.
  • Luke includes an intense and specific genealogy of Jesus that links his ancestry not to Joseph, but through Adam. This links Jesus, not only to the house of David, but to the entire human race.
Powerful Verses from Luke

Click here to discover some of the beautiful quotes from Luke.

Holy Is His Name

Prominent Themes

Unique Parables

The Gospel according to Luke has a lot of well known parables. Some of which are unique to this Gospel though closely related to parables in other Gospels.

The Good Samaritan: The Samaritan who showed mercy was called the neighbor. The Samaritan serves as an example to the model disciple Luke illustrates.

The Rich Fool: The Rich Fool thinks he is set for life with his material wealth but God explains that he is not. God says that the fool's earthly treasure will not follow him to heaven and that the fool lacks what is important to God.

The Lost Coin/ The Lost Son: These parables are similar to Matthew's Lost Sheep but have a focus on God/ Jesus' focus and love for the lost and lowly as well as God's invitation to repentance for all.

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Unique Miracles

The Raising of a Widow's Son: Jesus shows love for a widow whose only son has died, shows his caring for the ones low in society.

The Cleansing of Ten Lepers: The non-Jewish man was the only one to give thanks for his healing. The foreigner had faith and was saved because of it. This miracle goes hand in hand with the parable of The Good Samaritan, Luke uses these stories to emphasize that Jesus does not only call Jews to follow him but everyone who has faith is welcome to his table.

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Unique Stories

Many well known and loved stories are unique to the Gospel of Luke.

-Zacchaeus the Tax Collector: Although Zacchaeus has a bad reputation as a tax collector his repentance and decision to give away his wealth to those who need it makes him a model disciple. Using his wealth to help those who are in need of assistance and not hoarding it for himself shows how wealth should be used in accordance with the ministry of Jesus. Zacchaeus proves that wealth in and of itself is not evil but what the owner choses to do with their money may not always be good, he shows that though he is wealthy he recognizes the greater value of giving his wealth and following Jesus. Zacchaeus changes his behavior and proves that even someone thought to have evil intentions such as a tax collector can be forgiven and saved by the Messiah.

-The Crucifixion (Lk 23:39-42): The story of penitent sinner guaranteed a place in heaven only appears in this Gospel. While the first criminal is cruelly teasing Jesus about his title and powerlessness as the Messiah the second criminal continues to have faith in God and feels that killing Jesus is an unjust act. Because of his faith in God's judgment and acknowledgment of his own sins he is told that he will be welcomed into Heaven with Christ. Like Zacchaeus even this criminal has proven that everyone is welcome into God's Kingdom.

Prayer as a Motif

One of Luke's great teachings through this Gospel is that prayer is at the center of Christianity. Prayer connects us to God and Jesus acted as a great example of that strong bond.

Before important points in Jesus' ministry Luke describes Jesus as praying. For example in The Baptism of Jesus Luke writes, "After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the holy Spirit descended upon him in a bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased" (Lk 3.21-22).

This Gospel mentions Jesus praying when he chooses his disciples, the transfiguration, at the Last Supper, at the Mount of Olives and while he is on the cross. With these impactful moments Luke also includes the Lord's Prayer and canticles in the Infancy Narrative as different forms of prayer to show that anyone is welcome to have a relationship with God.