What are some of Luke's famous writings from the Gospel?


Two books of the New Testament have been attributed to Saint Luke: Luke's Gospel, and Acts of the Apostles. They were both written anonymously, so we do not really know who wrote them, although they were attributed to the apostle Luke later in the second century. Both were written in Greek Koine, with the Gospel written in the nineties of the first century or early in the second century, and Acts written some time later.

Luke 1:1-2 tells us what the author actually knew about the lfe and mission of Jesus, and how he knew it:

"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;"

The gospel is therefore an account of those things that were believed among Luke's group of Christians, which were delivered to them and which seemed to have come from eyewitnesses. The traditional attribution to Paul's companion Luke assumes that Paul and others actually taught Luke about Jesus, and that Luke then wrote down what he was taught, but this introduction clearly says that the information was 'delivered' to Luke and his fellow-Christians. Using a parallel reading in the Greek language, scholars have demonstrated that the main source delivered to and used by the author of Luke was Mark's Gospel. Another source, shared by the author of Matthew, is believed to be the hypothetical 'Q' document, which contained sayings material attributed to Jesus.

Verse 1:3 addresses the gospel to an otherwise unknown Theophilus. Theophilus could have been a real person or, since the name means 'lover of God', could refer to all Christians. It could also be a mimesis flag indicating that the author drew some of his material from the works of Josephus, just as modern authors use citations when drawing material from other authors.

More than any other gospel writer, Luke was concerned for the poor. His nativity account, although described as unlikely to be historical, has poor shepherds go to worship the baby Jesus, unlike the magi who came bearing gifts of gold and rare spices in Matthews Gospel.

In Matthew (chapter 5) the first beatitude is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." In Luke (chapter 6) the first beatitude is, "Blessed be the poor: for theirs is the kingdom of God." A subtle difference, but one that demonstrates Luke's concern for the poor of this world.

The parable of the prodigal son is in Luke chapter 15. A certain man had two sons, and the younger of them asked for his inheritance now. He then journeyed into a far country and wasted his entire inheritance. When he was reduced to starvation, he returned home, saying that he was no more worthy to be called his father's son, but asking to be made one of the hired servants. But the father sent his servants to bring the best robe and put it on him, and a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. He ordered that a fatted calf be killed for a feast to rejoice in the return of his son. The older son was angry, but his father consoled him, saying that everything he had would be his, but that they should both be glad at the return of his brother.

Luke and John are the only gospels that mention Lazarus. In Luke 16:20-31, Lazarus was a beggar in a parable. When Lazarus died he went to heaven, but a rich man who also died went to hell. The rich man asked Abraham to resurrect Lazarus and send him back to the rich man's house to warn his relatives of the fate that awaited them, so that they would repent. John's Gospel changes this somewhat, making Lazarus the brother of Jesus' wealthy friends, Mary and Martha, and having Jesus really resurrect him.

Luke was the evangelist who told us of the bodily ascension of Jesus to heaven, both in the Gospel (Luke 24:51) and Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:9), although the latter account only has the ascension take place at the end of forty days.