21 Mar A Faithful Friend to the End
March 21, 2017
When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Do you know who wrote the majority of the New Testament? When you put the gospel of Luke and its companion book, Acts, together, they comprise 28 percent of the New Testament. Luke wrote more than anyone, including the apostle Paul. He was the only Gentile writer of the New Testament. Now, if you wrote most of the New Testament, wouldn’t you want everybody to know? You’d put your name on the book in big letters. Yet Luke never refers to himself by name. The closest he comes to identifying himself is the “we” he uses in Acts 16. On Paul’s second missionary journey, Luke and Paul came to the town of Troas and wondered where they should go next. They said, “We’ll go to Bithynia. It makes sense to continue spreading the gospel throughout Asia Minor.” But God shut the door. They were praying for wisdom when God sent a vision of a Macedonian man who came to Paul and told him to come to Macedonia. Acts 16:10 says, “When [Paul] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Macedonia was the first place in Europe to hear the gospel. Because Paul and Luke and his companions were obedient to the heavenly vision to go to Macedonia, you and I are Christians today.
One of the greatest myths about Christianity is that Christianity is a Western religion, and who are we as Westerners to try to impose our Christian religion on other parts of the world? Well, Christianity is not a Western religion. Christianity started in the Middle East. It’s a Middle Eastern religion that grew and grew, and because of mostly Jewish missionaries you and I are Christians today. We wouldn’t have been saved if it were not for Jewish missionary named Paul and his Gentile companion Luke who took the gospel to Macedonia. The second mention of Luke is found in Philemon 24, where he is called “the fellow worker” with Paul.
The final mention of Luke in the Bible is in 2 Timothy 4:9-11. Paul was in prison awaiting his execution, and remember what he wrote to Timothy: “Make every effort to come to me soon, for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.”
Luke was a faithful friend to the very end. While Paul was awaiting his execution, Luke was there to encourage him. Greek scholars believe that when Paul was beheaded outside of Rome, it was the physician Luke, his dear friend, who cared for Paul’s body and saw that it was buried, awaiting the great resurrection day. That is Luke, the author of this gospel.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Reigniting Your Passion for Christ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.