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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector Writes,

For Holy Week and Easter Services and Events – please see the Easter flyer. Yes the donkey’s back! This year will be in Penyffordd again too.

This year we are reading Luke’s gospel on a Sunday.
I wonder which of the gospels is your favourite? Luke is mine!
If I was to reorder the books of the New Testament then personally I’d put Luke – and then his Acts of the Apostles at the front. (In fact the International Bible Society, Biblica, have done this in their series, ‘The Books of The Bible’).

If you read Luke and Acts together – back to back – then you get a near complete overview of the New Testament story. You will have read a quarter of the New Testament too!
Luke is also the most detailed and chronologically written of the gospels. This is evident as you read it, and he makes this clear in his opening verses of his book where he sets out his aim and purpose in writing it too:

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke went to great lengths to make sure his gospel was accurate. He used reliable sources – ‘eye witnesses’ – and ‘carefully’ investigated. Witnesses he probably spoke to would have been Jesus’ mother, Mary, (hence the Christmas story in Luke), the Apostle Paul (Paul refers to a Luke in three of his letters) and Mark’s Gospel (as near all of it is included in Luke).
Where Luke’s gospel focusses on the life of Jesus, his Acts of the Apostles then focusses on the life of the early church. We know Luke and Acts were written by the same author too because they’re written to the same Roman Official, ‘Theophilus’. Also they are written in the same literary style and Acts picks up where Luke ended – with Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Perhaps Luke is an apologetic defending Christianity to the Roman/Western world?
What else is there in Luke’s gospel that makes it unique to the others?
• Luke is the only writer to include the birth of Jesus (Luke 2)
• Unlike Matthew, Mark and John, Luke is not considered by church tradition to be one of the twelve apostles. His writing is included in the New Testament because the early church considered him to be a direct contemporary of the Apostle Paul – Luke the physician (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon v24)

• Luke’s gospel has more healings and miracles recorded in it than any other gospel. No surprise at this if Luke was a doctor! To a doctor who has cared for the sick and the dying the miraculous would be even more impressive!

• As a physician Luke would have been very intelligent and well educated. This is clear by the high standard of his Greek. Luke’s Greek is presented as grammatically accurate as well as its content is given as historical.

The main purpose and aim of Luke’s gospel is that “Theophilus may know the certainty of the things he has been taught” (Luke 1:4).

Throughout his gospel, Luke’s emphasis is that Jesus is the “Saviour of the world”. From the Christmas story, “Today in this town of David a Saviour has been born to you…”, through his unique parables of The Lost Coin, Lost Sheep, Lost Son – that all start with something lost but in the end is always found… the hidden meanings of the parables being… Jesus came to save us who are lost in our sins and bring us to a point where we find eternal life…

Finally, the way in which Jesus becomes our Saviour is through the Easter Story that we celebrate this month. Though Luke is far from the only New Testament writer to say this! Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins – yet as Luke reiterates in Acts, “God raised Jesus from the dead… because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24)… “God exalted him as Prince and Saviour that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to [all]” (Acts 5:31). This is what we celebrate at Easter!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


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