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19th July: Luke (4) -- Evangelist

'... it seemed good to me... having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account... Luke 1:3

It is an eye-opener for us, having noted what the apostle Paul had to say about Luke, to look back at his Gospel. There are no 'we' passages here, as in the Acts, but Luke unconsciously tells us much about himself as he writes faithfully about his Lord -- and indeed, many times he does call Jesus, 'Lord'.

The opening words addressed to Theophilus surely show Hippocratic influence. Extant writings of the Hippocratic school contain case histories which indicate that the recording physician had 'followed all things closely' and had set himself 'to write an orderly account' -- a characteristic approach of the Hippocratic school unmatched in the ancient world.

The medical flavour in Luke's writing continues to come through as the narrative develops. To whom but an understanding physician would Mary have confided the details (recorded nowhere else) of Jesus' conception and birth and childhood? Our Lord's acts of healing are closely followed, often with special attention to detail and a real feeling for the compassion which was so essentially a part of the Lord Jesus' ministry. Is it strange that Luke was the one to record the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son? Or that women and children have a sympathetic place in his story? To Luke, Jesus was clearly both Lord and Saviour, and his mind and heart were his Lord's.

Thank you, Lord, for the example of doctors like
Luke, who confessed you as Lord, trusted you as
Saviour and loved you as Master and Friend -
and who for your sake truly loved their
neighbours. Help me to follow in their train.

Further reading: Lk 1:1-4.

RRW

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