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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Luke’

And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.  Luke 21: 38

“Note: Many a Christian of our days might learn a lesson from these people that got up unusually early and thronged to the Temple to hear the Lord, whereas many in our days act as though they were conferring a favor upon the Lord by appearing at His house some half hour after service has begun.”  (The Popular Commentary (1921), by Rev. Prof. Paul E. Kretzmann)

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Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lessons for the Day:

Psalm 147:1-7
Isaiah 35:5-8
2 Timothy 4:5-15
Luke 10:1-9

Biblical Bio:   

St. Luke, the beloved physician referred to by St. Paul (Colossians4:14), presents us with Jesus, whose blood provides the medicine of immortality. As his traveling companion, Paul claimed Luke’s Gospel as his own for its healing of souls (Eusebius). Luke traveled with Paul during the second missionary journey, joining him after Paul received his Macedonian call to bring the Gospel to Europe (Acts16:10-17).  Luke most likely stayed behind in Philippi for seven years, rejoining Paul at the end of the third missionary journey inMacedonia. He traveled with Paul to Troas, Jerusalem, and Caesarea, where Paul was imprisoned for two years (Acts 20:5-21:18). While in Caesarea, Luke may have researched material that he used in his Gospel. Afterward, Luke accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome (Acts 27:1-28:16). Especially beloved in Luke’s Gospel are:

  • the stories of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 16:29-37),
  • the prodigal son (Luke15:11-32),
  • the rich man and Lazarus  (Luke16:19-31),
  • and the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
  • Only Luke provides a detailed account of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:1-20)
  • and the canticles of Mary (Luke1:46-55),
  • of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79),
  • and, Simeon (Luke2:29-32).

To show how Christ continued His work in the Early Church through the apostles, Luke also penned the Acts of the Apostles. More than one-third of the New Testament comes from the hand of the evangelist Luke.  (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Reflection:  

St. Luke, the beloved physician (see Colossians 4: 14) traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys (see Acts 16: 10-17;  20: 5—21:18; Acts 27: 1—28: 16).    Luke wrote both the Gospel that bears his name and Acts of the Apostles. 

 In Luke 9: 51 we are told, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…”(New King James) And the phrase “it came to pass” means a solemn change in the direction of the narrative.  It begins anew the Lord’s journey, from heaven above to earth He came was a relative breeze compared to where He was going. From that verse Jesus’ destination is razor sharp:  Jerusalem and the Cross.  All the Gospel readings this summer have been from this section of the Gospel 9: 51 to the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, beginning at 19: 29.  It is a meandering journey with many incidences and people and places and confrontations and comforts. Luke was told the Lord’s travel itinerary for the Church: 

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1)  

The destination in Acts is Paul’s arrival under arrest in Rome.  The Gospel is spreading “…to the end of the earth.”  Luke/Acts is like one extended travelogue.  In Luke/Acts, we meet all sorts of people: centurions, lepers, the blind and the deaf, fishermen, children, mothers, fathers, Pharisees, the rich, the poor,  a business woman, a Roman jailer, kings,  a soothsayer, pagan priests,  idolaters…etc.  There is sub genre of novels called “picaresque” which is journey narrative with lovable rogues, people of a lower station of life as the protagonists.  An example is Huckleberry Finn.  Jesus is no rogue but many of  those whom He called, saved and healed were just that!  Luke 15 is the three parables with one simple and powerful theme:  the lost are found.  Luke and Acts is about people who lost their way and worse, lost the way of life…and being found.

Our forebears traveled great distances to arrive to these good shores.  We still love to travel:  get in the car and “hit the road”.  “The road ever leads onward” (JRR Tolkien) applies to us. Getting on the interstate or the secondary roads and the scenic routes  and all of them are marked with signs:

Wrong Way, Do Not Enter…driving we would not do so, but in life we are tempted and many times go the wrong way, as did the Saul of Tarsus.  Jesus set Saul in His way, not merely the right way, but the living way. The Roman jailer was about to kill himself, definitely the wrong way but the Lord through His Apostle prevented the deadly deed and  by His grace, eternally more:  see Acts 16: 25-34.

Repentance  is literally making a u turn, going the right way.  The sign above does not exist at all in the Bible. U-turns are always possible in  the Lord’s grace for us all, to us all, every day.

As Christians we have to yield the right of way, our ways, to help someone else get through.  Paul yielded to the Lord, but not to falsehood.

Here the Lord is adamant:  do nothing to the little ones to cause them to sin.  It would better to put a millstone around one’s than to cause of the little ones to stumble.  Receive the Kingdom as a child. See Luke 17:2  Luke 18:17                                                                                                                                   

 We all have known dead ends.  Funny thing: so many dead ends we keep on pursuing: drugs, money, fame, sex, power, pornography etc, ad nauseum.  We keep on going down dead ends.  St. Paul knew this very well: “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.   Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.   I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.   For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.   But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”  (Romans 7: 19ff)  Think St. Paul knew about going down dead ends, even after his conversion and baptism? 

Paul needed to turn back. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  (Romans  7: 24-25)  He was going the wrong way. We all come to the dead end of death, but in Christ the hope and promise is the  journey continues.  There is only One keeps us on the road:   Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit through His Word. And truly, this is when the saying is applicable: “But by the grace of God, go I”.

St. Luke saw many people re-directed from death, sin and the power of the devil because of Jesus Christ. Finally, there is only one sign in Luke and Acts, indeed the whole Bible to which we are pointed and which points us in the right direction to which the true Church always points:

“Nothing in my hand I bring but simply to Thy Cross I cling.”

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