So let me tell you a little bit about this book. By the second century, Luke was recognized as the author of both Luke and Acts. Luke is named three times in the New Testament, and from these references, we learned something about him.
Our dear friend Luke the physician and Demas greet you —Colossians 4:14
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you. Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my colaborers, greet you too —Philemon 1:23-24
These two verses tell us that Luke was a physician and that he worked directly with Paul. From the Book of Acts we learn that Luke accompanied Paul on some of his journeys. This is evident by the so-called “we” passages in Acts (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16).
I can’t help jumping ahead of ourselves, I hope you don’t mind, but in Acts 16, we will see that Luke must have joined Paul in Troas. This would mean that he was present when Paul received his Macedonian vision. Then Luke accompanied Paul and the others to Philippi. He was also with Paul in Troas, when the church gathered and Eutychus fell from the window and was taken up dead. Was it Dr. Luke who pronounced this young man dead, making his healing even more emphatic? I don’t know, but it makes me wonder.
We find Luke with Paul as he was in Caesarea, on his way to Jerusalem. Luke would have heard the ominous prophecy of Agabus, warning Paul of what awaited him in Jerusalem. Did he agree with those who urged Paul not to go? Or did he take the attitude of Jonathan and his sword bearer? I better explain that . . . back in Israel’s history, there was a time when Philistines were making raids on the Israelites and causing all kinds of problems. You have to understand that these Philistines were strong, and threatening, and the whole safety of Israel was at stake. Every able Israelite was out in the hills and valleys in defense—even the King’s son, Jonathan.
Well, Jonathan got tired of waiting for the fighting to start, so he started his own fight:
“Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by a few” —I Samuel 14:6.
Isn’t that great! Jonathan says to his armor bearer, “Naturally the Lord is going to win the battle, whether by many or a few. Hey, just for fun, let’s see if He does it by a few—like two?”
The sword bearer’s only comment was, “What is in your heart, I will follow!”
Was Luke like the sword bearer? “Paul, I heard the prophecy just like you, but if you’re going, I’m going with you.” What a companion! I want brothers who are committed to me and full of faith while they stand with me, too! Better yet, I want to be a companion and supporter of brothers and sisters of faith. I love it when I can tell a friend, “I got your back!” And they know it’s true!
Finally, we find Luke with Paul on his journey to Rome. He was there with Paul when their ship was broken up on the rocks. He witnessed Paul’s miraculous deliverance from the snake bite and the healing of the father of Publius. (Don’t worry, we’re going to get to all this soon).
We assume from the final chapters of Acts what Paul makes absolutely clear in his final epistle:
For Demas deserted me, since he loved the present age, and he went to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is a great help to me in ministry —II Timothy 4:10-11
Luke wasn’t only Paul’s companion and coworker in ministry, Luke was a man who faithfully stood with Paul to the end. I can respect what a man like this writes, inspired by the Spirit of God. So keep all this in mind as we study Luke’s tales.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Book of Acts
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