Beholding and believing in Jesus is central to the life of a disciple of Christ. It seems that this would be an obvious reality but it can often be forgone or overlooked as the cares of this world, or even the burdens of religion choke out our true life. We want to return, again and again, to the true telling of the story of Jesus as found in the gospels so as to repeatedly re-center ourselves and our church on him.
Among the gospels there is both unity and diversity. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we find unity in the central message, unity in setting, unity in historical perspective and unity in the narrative and many of the teachings as well. But we also find diversity. Within the unified gospels we find diversity in voice, in style, in original audiences, in some details, and in aspects of purpose or intent. Like any eye witness accounts of the same event, the stories of the life and ministry of Jesus are told from the perspective and personality of the writers.
The gospel of Luke, though unified with the other gospels, is diverse in it’s detail and purpose. From the start Luke, who is a physician, unveils that his writing is to one named Theophilus. In his gospel account, Luke sets out to be orderly according to all of the things concerning Jesus that he had followed closely over time. This approach produces an account that contains many passages not found in any of the other gospels. However Luke doesn’t tell us about a different Jesus, he simply tells us more and more about the same Jesus. With his extra material Luke shows us that God’s grace touches all of the kinds of people that one would not expect. The poor, the broken, prostitutes, the tax-collectors, women and Gentiles are given particular attention Luke’s writing. His added stories open our eyes further to see the far reach of the message and ministry of Jesus. Luke helps us see the extent of grace.