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17th July: Luke (2) -- Worker for God

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. Philemon 24

The apostle Paul never minced words. When he listed Luke among his fellow workers, it had to mean a great deal. Paul scoured land and sea in a far harsher world than most of us know today to do the work of Christ, whom he had just as relentlessly persecuted in the days of his blindness. Luke was with Paul (sometimes his only companion) on many of his travels and shared in many of his hardships.

The 'we' passages in Luke's book The Acts of the Apostles record his accompanying Paul on that important visit to Macedonia. A case can be made for identifying Luke with the 'man of Macedonia' in Paul's vision (Acts 16:9). The 'we' passage ceases when Paul and Silas leave Philippi (was that Luke's home town?) and resumes when Paul returns to Philippi (Acts 20:6). Then Luke remains with Paul in his journeying, through the fracas in Jerusalem, the appeal to Caesar and the voyage to Rome, including the shipwreck at Malta.

The whole tone of Luke's account, as well as specific phrases (such as Acts 16:10), make it clear that Luke was not just a medical camp follower or even only a faithful friend, but was part of the gospel team. He does not tell us, but we can well imagine, that the care of the beloved physician not only kept Paul going, but helped to open hearts to the message of the Great Physician, in which Luke was counted a fellow worker.

Lord, grant that medical work, including my own,
may be the means of opening hearts to the
knowledge and acceptance of the love of God in Christ.

Further reading: Acts 16:6-15.

RRW

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