Luke the Evangelist
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke wrote the most beautiful book in the world. He was a brilliant writer and his gospel is of high literary value. He had great freedom and ability in the use of the Greek language, yet the style is simple and pure. There is a charm and earnestness in his anecdotes which appeals to the youngest reader; yet there is exactness of detail which holds the interest of the careful student.
In the third Gospel we have the setting of Christ's life in the Roman world, and historical data is given which links our Lord's life with the society in which He lived. Most of the information that we have of the birth and early years of Jesus are in Luke's record. He it is also who depicts our Master in the home and family life of His day. The religious trend of the first century was to keep women and children in a place of inferiority and it is mainly Luke who showed that Jesus ignored the fashion. He emphasizes the place of the gentle and simple things in the purpose of God. All this gives evidence of Luke's wide sympathies, which extend still further when consideration is given to the parables and miracles that are peculiar to his record.
He was interested in the poor and despised, and our Lord's appearance in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4) is an appropriate opening for His ministry. But for Luke's pen we should not have had the great illustrations of compassion given in our Lord's parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. He too retold the striking contrasts between Pharisee and Tax Collector praying in the Temple and the real life study of Simon and the "sinful woman". Luke recognised the evil of racial and class distinction in the parable of the "rich fool" and Dives and Lazarus, and of Jesus' tolerance towards the Samaritans.
As a medical doctor he would be intimately acquainted with human suffering, and his method of recording miracles of healing reflects his knowledge and his sympathy. This is apparent in his description of "a man full of leprosy" in Luke 5.12. In writing of the woman in the crowd who touched the hem of Jesus' garment (Luke 8. 46) he uses a more professional term for the word "virtue" than Mark although this is not clear from the English version. His reference to Peter's mother-in-law as having a "great fever" is similarly the distinguishing mark of a physician. His delicate and restrained treatment of our Lord's experience in Gethsemane is masterly and again there is a singularly professional reference to the "drops of blood" (Luke 22. 44). The word "wholesome" adopted by Paul in his later epistles is peculiar to Luke's Gospel among the evangelists, (Luke 5.31; 7.10; 15. 2).
However he was not only a scientist and historian; he had great interest in the devotional aspect of the Christian life, and he has been called the first Christian hymnologist. The remarkable poems of Mary in the Magnificat, and of Zachariah at the birth of John the Baptist are a tribute to Luke's diligence. The third Gospel provides us with the greatest insight into our Lord's prayer life, recording some of His prayers and teaching upon the subject. Several of these were at critical points in His ministry, for example when He spent all night in prayer prior to selecting the disciples. In narrating the Transfiguration on the mount, Luke alone informs us that Jesus was praying. Finally, on the cross, the prayer of forgiveness (not spurious as some have supposed) was a precious reflection of our Saviour preserved only by Luke.