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The Pastor's Blog

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“WE” … WHO?

Dr. Luke, a physician (Colossians 4:14), historian, and investigative reporter, wrote the inspired Gospel that bears his name. He did so for the primary benefit of the “most honorable Theophilus” (Luke 1:3), a man whose name meant, “lover of God”. The opening line of his second book states: “I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen” (Acts 1:1–2). He wrote the Book of Acts, a sequel to his Gospel, to record the story of the Holy Spirit’s work in establishing the early church and the spread of the Gospel throughout the Roman empire.

As Luke prepared to write the Gospel, he must have interviewed Mary, the mother of Jesus, Peter and the other Apostles, and maybe even those who were the recipients of Jesus’ miraculous touch. I wonder if he talked with the son of the widow at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), the woman healed after hemorrhaging for twelve years (Luke 8:43-48), or Zacchaeus, the retired chief tax collector from Jericho (Luke 19:1-11)?

When he wrote the Book of Acts, he likely sat with Peter and reviewed the birth and expansion of Jerusalem’s first church. “Tell me again, Peter… Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead? Really?” (Acts 5:1-10). Maybe he interviewed some of the first Deacons (Acts 6:1-7) and listened to Philip talk about sharing the Good News with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). Luke was an investigator.

And, I wonder, when and where did Luke meet Paul? Maybe it was at Troas on Paul’s second missionary journey.

After crossing modern-day Turkey, Paul, Silas and Timothy arrived at Troas on the coast of the Aegean Sea. It was there that Paul saw the vision of the Macedonian man inviting the missionaries to bring the Gospel to Europe.

Read this slowly… “After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10).

It is here that the author’s pronouns change. Through the first fifteen chapters of the Book of Acts, Luke referred to “him” and “them.” At Troas, when Paul saw the vision of the Macedonian, the pronouns change to “we” and “us.” Luke joined Paul’s missionary team.

Luke must have remained at Paul’s side until the imprisonment in the Philippian jail. Luke was spared, while Paul and Silas were jailed. Here, the pronouns return to “him” and “them.”

The next “we” passage is found where Luke records the end of Paul’s third missionary journey (Acts 20-21). Luke is also Paul’s companion on his journey to Rome. Notice the “we” and “us” in Acts 27-28. According to Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24, Luke remained with Paul during his Roman imprisonment. Later, Luke was with Paul prior to his execution (2 Timothy 4:11).

Yes indeed. Luke was an inspired author, and much more. He was a partner and friend to Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles and missionary to the Roman empire.


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