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Early Christian tradition, from the late second century on, identifies the author of this gospel and the Acts of the Apostles as Luke, as a Syrian from Antioch. Luke was not part of the first generation of Christian disciples, but received his teachings from those who were eyewitnesses to the events of the gospel. Many scholars feel that the author was acquainted with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE and therefore date the writing of the gospel around 80-90 CE. Because Luke substitutes Greek names for the Aramaic or Hebrew, omitted the concerns of the Jewish Christian community, has interest in the Gentile Christians and has an incomplete knowledge of Palestinian geography, it is suggested that the writer was a non-Palestinian writing to a non-Palestinian audience made up of Gentile Christians.

Luke shows that the teaching and preaching of early church leaders was grounded in the teaching and preaching of Jesus. The continuity between the historical ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the apostles is Luke’s way of guaranteeing that the teachings of the church conform to the teachings of Jesus.

The gospel is dominated by a historical perspective, a perspective that is based in salvation history. God’s divine plan for our salvation was accomplished during the earthly ministry of Jesus, who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies by the events of his life. Luke works to present Christianity as a legitimate form of worship in the Roman world, able to meet the spiritual needs of a world empire like that of Rome.

Through Luke’s interpretation of the gospel message, he turns the early Christians away from the expectation of the Jesus’ immediate return to the day-by-day concerns of the community. He is concerned with presenting the words and deeds of Jesus as guides for Christian conduct, using Jesus as the model Christian.

The 24 chapters of the Gospel of Luke will prepare you for the second volume of Luke’s work, the Acts of the Apostles and the early church.

–Deacon Rick Stachura

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