AN INTRODUCTION + The word “Luke”, most probably is short of the Latin word ‘Lucanus’ or ‘Lucius’, meaning (Bearer of the light), or (the enlightened). Yet, we should discern between the Evangelist ‘Luke’ and ‘Lucius’ mentioned in the Book of Acts 13: 1; and ‘Lucius’ mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans 6: 21. + He is the only one among the authors of the New Testament who was not a Jew, but a Gentile, most probably from Antioch, Syria, who received the Christian faith without being a Jew first. This is based on that when the apostle Paul referred to him in his epistle to the Colossians 4: 14, he did not mention him among the circumcised (4: 10, 11), like ‘Aristarchus and Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, and Jesus who is called Justus. + According to some, he was one of the 70 disciples, and even one of the two whom the Lord Jesus encountered after his resurrection on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24: 12); and the apostle did not mention his name out of the spirit of humility. Yet, the most accepted among the recent scholars is that he was not one of the apostles, but received faith on the hand of the apostle Paul; based on the lack of a historical support; and to that such an interpretation would otherwise be contradictory to the introduction of his gospel, in which he says about the things concerning the Lord Christ: “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us” (1: 2); which clearly shows that the author did not see the Lord Christ, but elaborately recorded what he received through the tradition, and confirmed to him by those who were eyewitnesses. That is why, one of the scholars comments on this gospel by saying: [It is a work referred to the faith of the congregation; set upon tradition, and is not an individual work]. + St. Luke has been a physician (Colossians 4: 14), and an artist, who, according to tradition painted the portrait of the Virgin St. Mary. + St. Luke was a close friend of the apostle St. Paul. According to the book of Acts, “They sailed from Troas to Samothrace, then to Neapolis, and then to Philippi” (Acts 16: 11, 12) – in the second preaching journey; Then, in the third preaching journey, the apostle Paul returned, and followed by St. Luke, from Philippi to Jerusalem (Acts 20: 5: 21); ……….. We see him accompanying the apostle Paul as a captive in Rome (Acts 28: 30); and we see him with St. Paul in his last moments, as the later said in his farewell message: “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4: 11). Through their close bond, the Evangelist St. Luke told us much of God’s preaching work through the apostle Paul in the book of Acts. Paul called him “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4: 14); as well as “who works with me”. It was said that St. Luke lived a virgin; preached in Achaia – Greece; was martyred when he was 84 years old; and his relics were transformed to Constantinople in the year 357 AD by Emperor Constantinos the second; and in 1177 AD it was transformed to Padau. Reference of the book to him: a- According to the writings of the fathers: Justin the martyr, Erinaos, Origen, and Tertullian, the testimony of the Church in the early centuries clearly came that the author of the book was the preacher Luke, author of the book of Acts, and the companion of the Apostle Paul. b- Beside those outer evidences, the book itself carries proofs that its author is our teacher St. Paul; including that the book was addressed to ‘Theophilus”,the same person to whom the book of Acts was addressed; and the introduction of the book of Acts came as a consummation of the gospel according to Luke. The author is the same; and the two books are similar in language, style, and thoughts; beside the fact that the elaborate expressions he used in describing the ailments healed by the Lord Christ, show that its author is a physician. As a physician who honors his profession, he did not say what St. Mark did concerning the woman with the flow of blood: “She had suffered many things from many physicians; she had spent all what she had and was no better, but rather grew worse” (Mark 5: 26); but only said: “She had spent all her livelihood on physicians, and could not be healed by any” (8: 43). The date of its writing: There are no certain tradition concerning the date of its writing, nor where it was written. According to St. Erinaos, it was written prior to the martyrdom of the apostle Paul, as there is no mention in the book of that important event. While according to St. Jerome, based on the Historian Josabius, the Caesarian, it was written after St. Paul was martyred. As this gospel was written before the book of Acts; which was written before the martyrdom of the apostle Paul; according to many scholars it was written between the years 63 and 67 AD; most probably in Rome; although, according to others it was written in chaia – Greece, or in Alexandria. The goal of writing it: If the Evangelist St. Matthew, being a Jew, wrote the gospel according to him to the Jews to proclaim to them that Jesus was the Messiah the King, whose coming was long anticipated by the fathers and the prophets, to have a portion in His eternal spiritual kingdom; And if St. Mark wrote to the Romans to proclaim to them that Jesus was the Minister who works, not by the spirit of the temporal authority, haughtiness, and violence, but by the spirit of giving, to save by the works of His love, and not by armies nor temporal hosts; the Evangelist St. Luke, on the other hand, being a cultured physician Gentile, intending to serve those of the Helenic culture, wrote to the Greeks about the Lord Christ, being “The Friend of all mankind”, to whom He presented His divine salvation works to realize what the Geek philosophy and human wisdom could not do. That is why this gospel is called “The gospel of the divine friendship” or “The gospel of Christ the Savior”, as well as “The ecumenical gospel”, representing a call to the whole humanity to receive the call of its heavenly friend, to respond to His salvation work through love. Such a goal, we shall clearly see throughout our interpretation of the features of this book. St. Luke wrote this book to his friend Theophilus (1: 3), addressing him as “the most excellent Theophilus”; hence, he is thought by the majority to be one of the elites of Alexandria, of an Antioch origin, the same as St. Luke himself. He wrote to him as being a fellow Gentile; not to benefit from him alone, but, according to the scholar Origen, for the benefit of the Gentiles who receive the Christian faith, in general. Some claim that Luke has been a slave owned by his Gentile master Theophilus; and having treated him as a physician and healed him, he rewarded him by giving him his freedom; and Luke addressed his gospel to him as a sign of gratitude. While, according to thers, the word “Theophilus”, meaning (who loves God), is an alias name of an elite of Alexandria, whose name was concealed to spare him troubles because of his Christianity………...Anyway, this book is addressed to the Gentiles in general, to let hem enjoy their Heavenly Friend, as the Savior of their souls. Its distinctive features: 1- Presenting the Lord Christ as “The Savior, Friend of humanity”, the Evangelist often talked to us about “The Son of Man”, who came to us to bear our humanity to grant us the fellowship of the divine nature. …….. Even though the Greek philosophy presented mere thoughts that could not occupy the heart, nor change the depths, “the Son of Man”, came as a Friend of man, to receive in him to grant him, through this unique friendship exalted possibilities to work in his depths, and to reflect upon his behavior. Calling the Lord “the Son of Man” destroys our feeling of sojourn from God, or His sojourn from us; having come down to accompany us on our path. 2- The most important feature of this gospel is that it presents “The Savior Friend” to the whole humanity; it is an ecumenical gospel……… Calling all, and not just the Jews; we notice in it the following: a- As the Jews consider themselves righteous, while all the other peoples are sinners, the Evangelist proclaims that the Lord Christ Is “The Friend of the sinners”. He was the only Evangelist to say: “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (19: 10). He, as well, presents to us a group of the Lord’s sayings and parables that show the Lord’s friendship and compassion on the sinners, like the parable concerning the longsuffering on the fruitless fig tree (13: 6-9); that of the lost sheep, the lost coin (Luke 15:8, 9); the prodigal son (15: 11 - 32); and he presented to us the episode of the sinner woman (7: 36); the repentance of Zacchaeus the tax-collector (19: 10); and the repentance of the robber on the cross (23: 40-43).; etc. a- He quoted the sayings and the episodes that open hope before the Gentiles, like that of the prophet Isaiah: “All flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord” (Isaiah 52::10).; the message of the prophet Elijah to the Gentile widow of Sidon (4: 35); and the message of the prophet Elisha to the pagan Gentile Naaman the Syrian (4: 27) b- He mentioned sending the 70 disciples. If the 12 apostles represent the call to the Jews (the 12 tribes), the bfigure 70 refers to the fullness of the Gentiles. c- In the genealogy of the Lord Christ, he did not start with Abraham, but with Adam, father of all mankind (3: 38) 3- Being the book of the divine friendship toward man, this friendship is also directed to the children and women, sanctifying childhood, and exalting the women and their positive role. And He, as well, gave special care to the poor, the needy, the rejected, and the exiled. Concerning the children, he was the only Evangelist to mention the birth of John the Baptist and his childhood; the enunciation of the birth of the infant Jesus in some detail; the exultation of the fetus in Elizabeth’s womb, when the Virgin St. Mary entered her house and greeted her; the circumcision of the infant Jesus, His entrance into the temple together with His mother on the fortieth day after his birth; and His going to the temple when He was 12 years old, etc. Concerning woman, according to some scholars, the Evangelist Luke, in his ecumenical gospel, he gave special care to women more than the other evangelists. In the Hellenic world, it so seems that, socially and legally, women occupied a better situation than by the Jews at that time; hence Luke intended to show that the evangelic message is not limited by the Jewish traditions. St. Luke was the only evangelist to mention the woman who worshipped in the temple (2: 26); and recorded, as well, Martha’s service, and the sitting of her sister Mary at the feet of the Savior to enjoy listening to His words. He cared for the poor and the needy …….. How the enunciation we sent to the poor girl of Nazarene; how the angels cared for the simple shepherds; the words of the Lord about the rich man and the poor; about the banquet of the blind, the lame, and the maimed; the parable of the good Samaritan; of the tax-collector; the story of the harlot in the house of Simon the Pharisee; the parable of the prodigal son; the story of Mary Magdalene; and the acceptance of the repentant robber on the cross, etc. According to a scholar: St. Luke showed care to the minorities, the rejected peoples like the Samaritans, the lepers, the tax-collectors, the soldiers, the sinners in general who are in shame; the Gentile needy shepherds; all of whom find encouragement in his gospel. 4- According to some scholars like ‘Leon Dufour’, the gospel according to Luke, with some reservation, could be called “The social gospel’; on account of that he talked much about the commitment to give the poor (3: 10, etc.; 14: 12-14); proclaiming the chastisement against those who refrain from fulfilling their needs (16: 25 etc.); and made clear the commitment against oppression and false accusation (3: 10-14). It is not right to call a gospel “social”, and another “spiritual”; for the life of faith is one integral indivisible unit; In case the spiritual side is presented, it does not disregard the social side; and in case the social side is presented, it so done from a spiritual aspect. What the Evangelist Luke presented concerning care for the poor, the needy, the suffering, and the oppressed; are nothing but the natural fruition of our taste of the friendship of the Lord Christ toward us, being the Friend who cares for all, particularly those spiritually, materially, socially, or psychologically needy ……… It is, therefore, befitting of us, as His friends, to pay His love back with love; and to bear His features in us; as what He gives us, we should give, in one way or another to our brethren. 5- Being our Friend, He presents to us, not only the salvation on the cross, but through this love, He enters into the different aspects of our daily life. We see Him has dinner in the house of Simon the Pharisee; accepts the invitation to the banquet of Zacchaeus; and responds to the hospitality of the two disciples of Emmaus. As our Friend, not seek violence, nor bigotry; we see Him rebuke the disciple John, for seeking a command to have fire to come down from heaven and consume the Samaritans 99: 54); and rebuked the disciples by saying: ”he who is not against us is on our side” (9: 50) ………. It is “The gospel of mercy”, or “the great gospel of forgiveness” As our Friend, He longs for us, and stirs us up, to receive His friendship, and to respond to His love; through presenting analogies like:  The episode of Simon the Pharisee and the sinner woman; the former presented his hospitality, but not his heart; whereas the latter, despite her many sins, by love she knew how to enjoy friendship and forgiveness  The parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector: the former entered the temple with lawful works he cherishes; but in his pride he failed to gain the friendship of the Lord; while the latter (the tax-collector), while standing at the back row, could enter into the heart of the Great Friend through humility.  The parable of the good Samaritan, the Levite, and the priest: The former enjoyed entrance into this friendship and responding to it through having his heart open to all humanity; while the two people of religion lost the friendship through the narrowness of their hearts.  The parable of the prodigal younger brother and his older brother: the former got the blessing, and enjoyed the friendship through repentance and return; while his older brother lost his relationship with his father because of his pride.  The episode of the repentant robber, and the non-repentant robber; the former took the kingdom by force, in his last moments  The blessings and the woes. 6- If the Greek culture prevailed on the world at that time, it did not present to humanity a true and joyful people; but man lived seeking every day a new philosophy or thought he did not knew before ………… Hens the Evangelist Luke wrote his gospel to proclaim that Christ, the Friend of humanity, is the Grantor of the inner joy; as his gospel included many hymns of praise, cherished and used by the Church in her worship and holy liturgies, like the angelic hymn of praise of the Epiphany (2: 14); that of Zecharias (1: 68-79); that of St. Mary; and that of Simon the elder (2: 29-32). The coming of the Savior Friend created an atmosphere of joy …….. The book started by the talk by the angel’s talk to Zecharias concerning the forerunner to that faithful Friend, saying: “You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth” (1: 14); and (1: 58). As to the birth of the Lord, it was accompanied with the opening of heaven on earth for preaching: ”Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (2: 10). And when the 70 disciples returned from their preaching mission, he said: “Then the seventy returned with joy saying: ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name’” (!0: 17); And it was said: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit, and said: ‘I thank You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight’” (10: 21).Preaching that unique Friend has exulted the heart of the Savior Himself for the sake of the simple; and was the subject of the gladness of heart to the Father ….He even proclaimed that “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents ……..” (15: 7). It is an inner joy that fills the heart of the repentant sinner, when he find in His divine Friend all satisfaction; it is said about Zacchaeus: “He made haste and came down, and received him joyfully” (19: 6); and joy for all the people, who rejoiced in all the glorious works He has done.; and when he entered Jerusalem, it was said: “The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they have seen” (19: 37). The book ended by joy in the Friend resurrected from the dead and ascending to heaven; it is said that the disciples, when that amazing Friend appeared to them: “While they still did not believe for joy and marveled ………” (24: 41); and again directly after His ascension: “They worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (24: 51). The Lord Christ, therefore, came to realize the pleasure to the Father, and for Him to rejoice in the faithful humanity by His blood ; He filled His disciples and apostles with joy, and poured over His Church His gladness; so He did on the repentant sinners. And in order to discern between this joy and that temporary joy of the world, he gave us the parable of the foolish rich man who said to himself: “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry’; but God said to him: ‘Fool, this night, your soul will be required of you; then, whose will these things be, which you have provided?” (12: 20) For all that, it was also called: “The gospel of the Messianic Joy”. 7- Having come to us as our Friend, the Lord Christ gave Himself to us as a Role Model. In many situations He showed Himself “A Prayer’; as when He was baptized (3: 21); after nHe healed the leper; before He calls the twelve disciples (6: 12); when He transfigured (9: 280; on the cross for the sake of His crucifiers; and in the last moments of His life on earth ……. Appearing as a Prayer, means that He bore us in Him, to enjoy connecting to the Father…. . In this gospel, the Lord talks to us about praying, more than He did in the rest of the gospels; in it He gave us the Lord’s prayer; and stressed the importance of persisting on praying; giving the parable of the one who goes to his friend to seek three loaves of bread; and that of the unjust judge who does not fear God, who responded to the widow because she troubled him by her continual coming to him. 8- According to some, the goal of the gospels in general, and the gospel according to Luke in particular, is not merely to parade the life of the Lord Christ, nor His history, as much as to present the Church in which the Lord Christ lived and worked for her sake; These gospels speak about the Christ of the Church as it tastes Him, through living around Him, and holding fast to Him. gospel, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives the life of the Church during the time the Lord lived in the flesh; while in the book of Acts, he gives her life while His presence on the right hand of the Father after His ascension; giving her His Holy Spirit……….. He is the Friend, unceasingly working: while He was in the flesh; and is still working after His ascension, until He encounters her on the clouds. 9- As there was a feeling among the early church that the second coming of the Lord Christ was so close that it would be realized in the apostolic era; this issue was dealt with by the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, to confirm that the Lord will not come before the appearance of “the man of sin”, and the movement of apostasy. Bearing the same view, St. Luke proclaims in his gospel, as well as in the book of Acts, that the death, resurrection, and glorious ascension, of the Lord, do not mean His second coming is at hand; nor directly after the desolation of Jerusalem. For some have misunderstood the words of the Evangelist St. Mark (14: 62; 9: 1), he proclaimed that the kingdom of the Messiah actually happens, first in the Church here, and is realized in the heart; and when a multitude of believers who are saved, join the Church every day …………. Namely, the second coming of the Lord will first be realized by dwelling in the hearts of the elect; and once He consummate His work here in this world, He will then come on the clouds. 10- According to some, the gospel according to Luke came conforming to the six first books of the Old Testament, in the following way: a- The new book of Genesis describes the birth of the Lord Christ and His childhood, by which the new creation is realized; For by the appearance of the second Adam, humanity set forth to a new world b- The new book of Exodus, is realized by the temptation of the Lord Christ in the wilderness for 40 days, where He conquered the devil to our account; conforming to the diaspora of the people of Israel 40 years after their exodus, and their continuous falling into the sin of grumbling. c- The new book of Leviticus is setting the twelve disciples, and giving the sermons of their ordination, as another book of Leviticus (6: 10, etc.) d- The new book of Numbers is realized through sending the 70 disciples to preach. e- Concerning the book of Deuteronomy, it represents the greater part of the gospel, which includes many of the teachings of the Lord, particularly in 9: 51 to 18: 14. f- The book of Joshua as presented by our teacher St. Luke is the episode of the passions of the Lord Christ and His resurrection. Receiving the harlot Rahab is analogous to that of Zechaeus the tax-collector (Luke 19: 1, 2). 11- The gospel according to Luke showed the role of the Holy Spirit: About John the Baptist, the angel proclaimed that he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb (1: 15); His role in the divine incarnation (1: 35); in the prophetic sayings (1: 67; 2: 25-27); in the baptism (3: 16); His appearance in the epiphany of the Lord Christ ((3: 22)………. By that he binds between the work of the Lord Christ and that of His Holy Spirit (4: 1, 14, 18; 10: 21; 11: 13; 10, 12) 12- This book is called “The gospel of wholeness”; including many episodes (and the parables) that did not come in the other gospels; supported by his close relation to St. Mary It is the only gospel to include the following miracles: The catching of fish (5: 4-11); Raising the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (7: 11); healing the woman with the spirit of weakness (13: 11-17); healing the leper (14: 1-6); healing the ten lepers (17: 11 – 19); healing the ear of the servant of the high priest (22: 50-51). It is also the only gospel to include the following parables: The two debtors (7: 41-43); the good Samaritan 9(14: 25-37); the persistent friend (11: 5-8); the foolish rich man ((12: 16-20); the fruitless fig tree (13: 6-9); the lost coin (15: 8-10); the prodigal son (15: 11-32); the dishonest steward (16: 1-13); the rich man and Lazarus (16: 19-31); The Pharisee and the tax-collector (18: 10-14). It was, as well, the only gospel to include certain events, like the answer given by John the Baptist to the people; Christ weeping on Jerusalem; Christ’s talk with Moses and Elijah when transfigured; the perspiration from His forehead like drops of blood; His address to the daughters of Jerusalem; His encounter with the disciples of Emmaus; beside some details concerning His ascension. 13- Concerning the style of writing, as we have previously said in more than one location, that when the Holy Spirit works in an author, and inspires him to write, He does not take away his personality, but uses his possibilities, inspires him, and keeps him from errors……… The possibilities of the Evangelist St. Luke appeared as a physician in the elaborate investigation of things; and as a physician and artist at the same time, in his delicate way of writing, bearing such sweet poetic touches, that his gospel became a source from which artists were inspired in creating their works. As a friend of the apostle Paul in several of his journeys, there are certain similarities in their ways of writing; something that made the scholar Tertullian say that the Evangelist St. Luke has been enlightened by the apostle Paul [See Luke 4- 22 with Colossians 4: 6; Luke 4: 32 with 1 Corinthians 2: 4; Luke 6: 36 with 2 Corinthians 1: 3; Luke 6: 39 with Romans 2: 19; Luke 6: 56 with 2 Corinthians 10: 18; Luke 10: 8 with 1 Corinthians 10: 23; Luke 11: 41 with Titus 1: 15; Luke 18: 1 with 2 Thessalonians 1: 11; Luke 21: 36 with Ephesians 6: 18; Luke 22: 19, 20 with 1 Corinthians 11 23-29; Luke 24: 34 with 1 Corinthians 15: 5] The divisions of the book: 1- Our Friend became like us Chapters 1 - 3 2- Our Friend is tempted just like us 4 3- Our Friend feels our sufferings 5 - 18 4- Our Faithful Friend 19 - 23 5- Our Friend resurrected from the dead 24 -

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