As a Greek physician, Luke was a Gentile and a second generation Christian. That is to say, he did not see or know Jesus during His earthly life. Targeting a broader, Gentile audience than the other gospels, the Gospel of Luke was written between 60-70 AD using a more sophisticated literary style. Similar to the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke begins with Jesus’ birth and baptism by John the Baptist followed by Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and Jerusalem, and culminating with the Passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
Most noteworthy about the Gospel of Luke though is its construction around a “travel narrative”, illustrating Jesus’ ministry as a carefully planned journey that culminates with His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. To ensure Jesus and his disciples followed a clear and concise route, Luke left out details or filled in gaps with additional details while rearranging some events. For example, Luke expanded the Galilee section of Jesus’ journey (IV below), rearranging the confession at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27-33) while omitting the location so as not to mention the event as being outside of Galilee region. Using these and other techniques proved very effective, allowing Luke to include Mark’s Gospel framework while offering the reader an easier, more concise flow with a well-organized narrative to aid comprehension.
For his Gospel , Luke relies heavily on the Gospel of Mark for the narrative of Christ’s earthly life; the sayings collection for Jesus’ teachings (known as the Q source); and a collection of material called the L (for Luke) source for content unique to his gospel. Well-educated, Luke was a careful researcher and an accurate historian, portraying Jesus as the Son of Man and Savior who came to us in service to God as well as a priest and teacher, answering the needs and hopes of humanity through His divine love and care for those with whom the Jewish leaders never even noticed. Unique to the Gospel of Luke is the emphasis of faithful women with Mary (mother of Jesus), Elizabeth, Anna, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and others serving as positive role models for women throughout the ages, up and including today. Further, Luke details the spirituality and power of Jesus as demonstrated through His miracles with the sick and impoverished as well as through His compassion for those who were socially, racially, and religiously ostracized. Together with the Acts of the Apostles, the Gospel of Luke provides readers with a compelling history of salvation. Using the following structure, the Gospel of Luke is a powerful narrative describing Jesus’ purpose as demonstrated through His teachings of redemption and salvation and His deeds (miracles).
I Preface (Luke 1:1-4)
II Infancy (Luke 1:5-2:52)
III Preparation for Jesus’ Ministry (Luke 3:1 – 4:13)
IV Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee (Luke 4:14 – 9:50)
V The Journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51 – 19:27)
VI Jesus’ Ministry in Jerusalem (Luke 19:28 – 21:38)
VII The Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus (Luke 22:1 – 24:53)
What is clear is that the Holy Spirit served as the driving force for these four men and for these four gospels to show us in very real ways the truth about Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior from different vantage points. With each writer emphasizing different themes of Jesus’ life, these four historical testimonies provide a powerful, incredibly beautiful portrait of Jesus as servant and teacher, and as Son of God and Son of Man to convey God’s love for humanity.