Archive for December, 2009

New Year : Luke

We will begin the New Year working our way through the Gospel of Luke. But who was Luke?And what do we know about the Gospel he authored?

It is believed that Luke was St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Early Church fathers, Eusebisu, Jermone, Irenaeus as well as Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician. This doesn’t mean he was wealthy, but rather he was trained a a physician and well-educated.

The Evangelist Luke’s inspiration (and information) for the Gospel which bears his name and for the book of Acts (which we looked at a few months ago now) came from his close association with Paul and other companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you … so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Lk 1: 1-3, emphasis mine)

Acts is where we can pick up the trail of Luke’s ministry. There’s nothing there about his conversion (though it is believed Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile ), but in Acts 16 it is clear that Luke partnered with Paul on his missionary journey to Macedonia to proclaim the good news to them. This would have been around AD 51. In Acts 20:5, the switch to the first person plural “we” again tells us that Luke left Philippi to rejoin Paul and they then traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, and onto Jerusalem. Later we read that Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome (c. AD 61) “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). And long after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is “only Luke (who) is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11).

We can assume that much of what Luke writes in Acts comes from Paul’s own narratives. Paul himself, as we know, was not one of the twelve, or even one of the early followers. He wasn’t an eyewitness to the life of Jesus at all. He himeself was a convert – from being a Pharisee who condemmed the Christians and who had witnesses the stoning of Stephen and others – to becoming, by the grace of God, the Apostle to the Gentiles. So where then did Luke get his material from?

I don’t know for sure … though there are many theories proposed in Biblical Critical Studies etc.  I suspect that as Paul’s protegee Luke met many of those people, including other disciples, who were eye witnesses to Jesus’ teaching, miracles, life, death and resurrection.

What is unique however is that Luke does include (in one way or other) the testimonies of many of the women of that time – again perhaps indicating Luke’s conversion from a gentile rather than Jewish background.  What I love most of all about this Gospel is that reading it we get quite a good idea of Luke’s character: he was one who, in spite of his own education, identified with the poor and marginalised, and wanted to emphasise that the the door to God’s kingdom was open to everyone. It’ s clear he respected women, and saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone. That IS good news isn’t it?

Many of the early passages in Luke – in particular chapters 1 and 2 – are familiar readings for this time of year. They tell of the annunciation and birth … but already by chapter 4 we’ll be on less familiar ground. There are miracles and parables that are unique to this Gospel, but like the other synoptic gospels, Matthew and Mark, together give us a picture of the son of God, who was born to die for us andour sins, and in doing so taught us the way to salvation.

Tomorrow let us step boldy into the Word of God – with Luke 1.


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on Friday – New Year’s Day

we’ll start dipping into the Gospel of Luke

today however I’m re-reading an inspirational book called

God’s Secret to Greatness: The Power of the Towel by Tommy Tenney and David Cape

As I’m reading this I’m thinking what are the hallmarks of a servant, what spirit does a servant have, and with whose eyes does a servant of Jesus see. How does this impact what we do?
If you are looking for a scripture to read today to inspire you about servanthood, you might like to start with John 3:22 to end which is John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus. I love it.


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looking ahead to 2010

oops forgot that we had planned to read through the Gospel of Luke … (thanks for the reminder C!) so we’ll start that on Friday.

As ever Saturday will be a day of grace and Sunday a day of rest – we’ll read five chapters a week (usually) and I encourage us all to think and reflect on what does the chapter in question say to us about where we are and what God is saying and doing in our lives.

The GOSPEL OF LUKE starts with the familiar nativity stories and IMHO is PERFECT for Christmastide

so the plan is

week 1 Friday 1st: Luke 1

week 2 Monday 4th – Friday 8th – Luke 2-6

week 3 Monday 11th – Friday 15 Luke 7-11

week 4 Monday 18th – Friday 22nd – Luke 12-16

week 5 Monday 25th – Friday 29th Luke 17-21

week 6 Monday 1 Feb – Wednesday Feb 3rd Luke 22-24

After the Gospel of Luke we will take James’  Epistle.

Easter Sunday is, I believe, April 4th this year. I hope that we can take 1 & 2 Corinithians before then (in Lent) … that leaves John and Revelation to go through during Eastertide and Pentecost.

Here’s a quick calculation of dates.

Luke, 24 chapters …that’s more or less all of January
then James 5 chapters (one week in early Feb)
1 &  2 Corinithians 16 + 12 = 28 chapters mid Feb to late in March

By then we should be v. close to Easter (I haven’t checked)
then John 21 (four weeks) in April closing up with Revelation  (22 exciting chapters) during the period of Pentecost right after Easter

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If in doubt what to read over the next couple of days … here are a couple of suggestions:

St Stephen’s Day (Dec 26th)   Acts 6:8-10; & 7:54 – 59

St John the Evangelist (Dec 27th)  Jn 20:2 – 8 and/or Jn 21:15-25

Holy Innocents (Dec 28th) Matthew 2:13 – 18

I’m still not sure what to read come January which is already on Friday!

In order to read through the NT we’ve still got the Gospel of John and Revelation to work through, the Epistles of Paul to the  Corinithians (1 and 2), as well as that of  James.

Any requests or suggestions?  What is working for you? What isn’t? Do let me know either in the comments or an email to seethroughfaith AT gmail DOT com should get to me.


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Take time today – amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas day – church, presents and good food, to read the Christmas Gospel

In those days

Bonus: I found this song on Sunday night when I was posting readings for the week .. it really spoke to me. Hope it blesses you too as you celebrate the birth of our Incarnate and Risen Lord today – be very blessed!

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In today’s reading we join the angels’ song of praise

Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased
. (Luke 2:14)

There are many Christmas carols which are familar to many of us but I really liked this simple Taize gloria.

Have a really blessed Christmas Eve. Here in Finland we exchange presents today and eat good food … and I close the day at the 10pm service at St. Michael’s church which is a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of my King and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 1:18-25

My Bible says Jesus is the King of the Jews …  the King of glory …  King of Kings and Lord of Lords …  He’s God’s Son and all-sufficient Saviour … His goodness is limitness … His love never changes … His yoke is easy … the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him but they couldn’t stop Him … Herod couldn’t kill him … that’s my King. I wonder if you know Him?

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