Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Lessons for the Day:
St. Luke, the beloved physician referred to by St. Paul (Colossians4:14), presents us with Jesus, whose blood provides the medicine of immortality. As his traveling companion, Paul claimed Luke’s Gospel as his own for its healing of souls (Eusebius). Luke traveled with Paul during the second missionary journey, joining him after Paul received his Macedonian call to bring the Gospel to Europe (Acts16:10-17). Luke most likely stayed behind in Philippi for seven years, rejoining Paul at the end of the third missionary journey inMacedonia. He traveled with Paul to Troas, Jerusalem, and Caesarea, where Paul was imprisoned for two years (Acts 20:5-21:18). While in Caesarea, Luke may have researched material that he used in his Gospel. Afterward, Luke accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome (Acts 27:1-28:16). Especially beloved in Luke’s Gospel are:
- the stories of the Good Samaritan ( Luke 16:29-37),
- the prodigal son (Luke15:11-32),
- the rich man and Lazarus (Luke16:19-31),
- and the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
- Only Luke provides a detailed account of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:1-20)
- and the canticles of Mary (Luke1:46-55),
- of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79),
- and, Simeon (Luke2:29-32).
To show how Christ continued His work in the Early Church through the apostles, Luke also penned the Acts of the Apostles. More than one-third of the New Testament comes from the hand of the evangelist Luke. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)
St. Luke, the beloved physician (see Colossians 4: 14) traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys (see Acts 16: 10-17; 20: 5—21:18; Acts 27: 1—28: 16). The early church historian, Eusebius (born AD 263) said that Paul claimed Luke’s Gospel as his own for its healing of souls. Luke wrote both the Gospel that bears his name and Acts of the Apostles. This means that St. Luke wrote over a third of the New Testament! It is only from him that we read of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. And both have the theme of travel. In fact, Luke/Acts is like one extended travelogue. In Luke 9: 51 we are told, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem…”(New King James) And the phrase “it came to pass” means a solemn change in the direction of the narrative. From that verse the travelogue begins with an intense focus: Jerusalem and Holy Week. All the Gospel readings this summer have been from this section of the Gospel 9: 51 to the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, beginning at 19: 29. It is a meandering journey with many incidences and people and places and confrontations and comforts.
We Americans love to travel and most of our forebears traveled great distances to arrive to these good shores. We still love to travel: get in the car and “hit the road”. “The road ever leads onward” (JRR Tolkien) applies to us. Getting on the interstate or the secondary roads and the scenic routes and all of them are markedwith signs.
We all have known dead ends. Funny thing: so many dead ends we keep on pursuing: drugs, money, fame, sex, power, pornography etc, ad nauseum. We keep on going down dead ends. St. Paul knew this very well: “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7: 19ff) Think St. Paul knew about going down dead ends, even after his conversion and baptism?
Paul needed to turn back. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7: 24-25) He was going the wrong way. But there is only One that kept him on the road: Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit through His Word.
By grace alone Paul made a:
Repentance is a u-turn. Going the right way. His Law shows us the wrong way and His Gospel His Way of repentance and forgiveness. And truly, this is when the saying is applicable: “But by the grace of God, go I”. In the Lord’s Word of grace and the Sacraments, the means of grace is kind of like this sign:
St. Luke saw many people re-directed from death, sin and the power of the devil because of Jesus Christ. Luke was told the Lord’s travel itinerary for the Church:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1)
This is about the Lord leading us to His kingdom and the fulfillment of the new creation in Christ Jesus. Now there is much I could both write and say about this theme of the travelogue. But one more: ever heard this saying: “It is better to travel hopefully, than to arrive”? What a bunch of baloney! Whoever said that did not have children in the back seat of the car or carriage. What is the number 1 question kids ask on a trip? Yes: “Are we there yet?” Imagine quoting that saying at them?! Children know here: it is about the destination and the One who is leading us there and others, who are lost, found by Lord upon His Way (see Luke 15!).