The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: (Acts 1:1-2 KJV)
Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place. Honorable Theophilus, I have done this to let you know the truth about what you have heard. (Luke 1:1-4 CEV)
As we come towards the conclusion of this journey through the Acts of the Apostles, it would be necessary for us to take out some time to pay tribute to the man who made himself available to God to be his instrument for chronicling this great book: LUKE THE EVANGELIST/PHYSICIAN.
Not much is known about his history except the few details that we can scoop out here and there from his writings, and from the little things that were said concerning him by his co-workers:
- He was either a Gentile, or a Hellenistic Jew (i.e. a Jew who leans more to Gentile lifestyle and practices). However, the more evidence suggests he was a Gentile from Antioch, which (if so) makes him the only Gentile author in the New Testament. See Colossians 4 vs. 11-14.
- He was a physician (i.e. a medical doctor). See Colossians 4 vs. 14. This reality must have aided him in the way he described healing miracles with precision and clarity both in his Gospel and in Acts of the Apostles.
- He was not an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. However, due to his intellectual leaning and divinely orchestrated analytical mind, he was able to get a detailed (orderly) account of the Lord (in Luke) and His Church (in Acts). Note that it was Luke who gave a detailed account of the birth of Jesus (having spoken intensively with Mama Mary).
- Luke was a mighty story teller. He has this ability to hold his audience in suspense while recounting a story. His attention to detailed enabled him to be able to give detailed accounts (including quoting figures) of the ministry of Jesus and of the Apostles. His powerful narration of the geography and navigation of Paul’s ship in Acts 27 is worthy of note.
However, I am not writing this article simply to give you a rundown of Luke’s history, but to examine his role in the whole outlook of God’s work especially in the days of the Apostles.
What could have happened to these wonderful stories told by Luke in his Gospel and in Acts of the Apostles if Luke had not discovered his place in the ministry, and committed himself to it with all his heart? Throughout all of Luke’s Christian life, he was found near Paul; and though so intellectual a man, he submitted to Paul’s leadership and authority.
He did not seek to be an Apostle and to head his own apostolic team. He was content to submit to Paul in all humility of mind. This is what we need in the body of Christ today. We need chroniclers. We need men with the pen of the writers. The chroniclers preserve the information of what God have done, and so pass it one to the next generation. Their work open our eyes to what God did with the generation before us, so that we too can rise up to the challenge of seeking after God and letting him use us.
Like Luke, such men are content to write about the exploits of another man, instead of their own. Did Luke do miracles, raise the dead and heal the sick? We will never know. But through him, we know what Jesus did, what Peter did and what Paul did. Through him, we have been able to tap into the history of the ancient, to find strength again to seek our God.
As I think of chroniclers in our modern day, I remember men like Roberts Liardon (God’s Generals series), Mel Tari (The Indonesian revivals), and many more who are still writing today. I pray that God will cause more and more men and women to arise, who are content to be at the background, take up their pen and put down in writing what God is doing.
In Psalm 78, we are told about this ministry of chronicling stories, and what it is meant to achieve, “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. (Psalms 78:2-8 KJV)
May God cause more and more of such men like Luke to arise in our time. Amen.