Luke: The Beloved Physician
The apostle Paul spent a lot of time in prison for sharing the good news about Jesus. During this time, Paul wrote letters to Christians in faraway places. In his letter to the church at Colossae, he mentioned Luke, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Paul also mentioned Luke in Philemon 24 and 2 Timothy 4:11. Luke was a good friend and traveling companion of Paul, so he would have seen many of the things that happened to the apostle. What else do we know about this special man?
Luke wrote the third Gospel account, and the Book of Acts. He was the only New Testament writer with a Greek, rather than a Jewish, name. It is clear from his writings that he was well-educated, knowledgeable, and careful with the facts. He told Theophilus that he was writing an account of Jesus’ life from “eyewitnesses and servants of the word,” having “investigated everything carefully from the beginning…in consecutive order,” so that “you might know the exact truth” (Luke 1:1-4).
As a physician, Luke would have been trained in the most advanced medical practices of the Greeks. At that time, the Greeks had the best knowledge of medicine and the human body. Apart from Paul’s reference to Luke as a physician, there is other evidence of his medical background and concern for the suffering of others. He recorded 19 of Jesus’ miracles—more than any of the other three Gospel writers. Most of these extra miracles were examples of Jesus healing the sick or raising the dead. Also, Luke was also the only Gospel writer to tell about Jesus’ agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said that Jesus’ “sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Luke knew the physical effects of great stress.
As an inspired writer, Luke described the life of Christ in wonderful detail so that we, his readers, could better understand the things we did not see for ourselves.
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