There is much more to Saint Luke the Evangelist than many people realize. He was an accomplished man and a disciple of Saint Paul. He is the author of the longest of the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He was a physician, which explains the many healing miracles and medical terms that are weaved into his Gospel. He was highly educated, as evidenced by his knowledge of medicine, his work as a historian, and the use of language in his writings. Scholars studied the language of the New Testament, and the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles “are far superior in the linguistics, the use of the Greek language, than any of the other writers,” says Catholic author Steve Ray.
Luke was likely an artistic man, believes Ray. Several times in his Gospel are examples of song and poetry. “He was also probably a painter because the earliest tradition is that he painted pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary during his lifetime, and seven other Gospel images.”
He was a historian who gathered the details of the events in Jesus’ life and the early Church. “It is most likely that he never met Jesus on this earth. He is the only New Testament writer that would not have met Jesus. All of his knowledge is from other people, and that’s very important for us because our knowledge of Jesus is given by others,” says Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, columnist, author, and priest of the Diocese of Charleston.
Luke was a warmhearted person. “He had a compassionate heart and he accentuated that in his Gospel. In [Luke’s] Gospel we see that he recounts stories and events in Jesus’ life in such a way or in an exclusive manner to accentuate God’s mercy,” Fr. Kirby says. For example, the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and the Good Thief are all exclusive to the Gospel of Luke. He recounts these events in Jesus’ ministry that others do not, and he writes about events in a different way than the other Gospels do, emphasizing the mercy and compassion of Christ.
Saint Luke, patron of artists, physicians, surgeons, students and butchers, pray for us!