We have finally arrived and started the New Testament. Our first encounter of the New Testament is the book of Luke. Each gospel writer wrote to a specific audience and for a specific purpose. Their audience and purpose dictate the way their gospel is arranged. We will examine Luke’s purpose and writing as we start the New Testament.
Luke’s gospel was written for a Gentile audience. We know that Luke is the author of both Luke and Acts. We believe Acts is simple a continuation of his first book Luke. There is speculation that these two works were written to present to the Roman Emperor of the day as a defense for the Apostle Paul. Paul was on trial because he had appealed to Caesar when he was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21-28). To bring the Emperor up to speed on what Christianity is he needed the whole story. So Luke wrote his Gospel as well as a history of the church. Now we do not fully know this was the case for sure, however it is evident the audience of Luke was not Jewish.
The first chapter of Luke is very interesting. Two angels appear to two Jews. Each Jew is told they are going to have a child. One is an old man named Zechariah, and the other was a teenage girl from Nazareth named Mary.
Zechariah was a priest and as a priest he knew the Old Testament very well. He knew that a coming Messiah was promised. Many in his day thought the time was just right. To convey this understanding to a Gentile audience Luke includes a prophecy of Zechariah into his Gospel that outlines the History of Israel and the promise past down from God. With this Luke has established the tradition which the Jews had been waiting for the one to come.
Luke does this again with Mary. When the angel comes and shares that God is with her and that she will give birth to His Son, she sings a song of praise. This song of praise highlights the tradition and the promise that God had made through Abraham. The small town teenage girl knew her scripture very well.
What Luke has done is given the back story needed. In fact he had done what we at West Side did with The Story. We unveiled the problem that sin created and we showed by walking through the Old Testament how God worked to restore mankind. This is an important step for Luke to make, because this is all the foundation for everything Jesus will do and start with His time on earth.