Speaking Peace In The Middle Of A Storm

Speaking Peace In The Middle Of A Storm

Luke the doctor and author of Luke and Acts.

Speaking peace in the middle of a storm

Acts 1:1 -4

With Peter Veysie

Sunday 19th July 2020

9.30 am

Interview of Dr Tom Barrett



Luke 1:1-4 

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Acts 1: 1 – 4 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Background to Dr Luke

It wasn’t easy being Paul’s friend and traveling companion. The apostle lived a hard and sometimes dangerous life. His enemies said he was a rabble-rouser, a troublemaker who slandered the Jews and dishonored the temple and, scorned the authority of the almighty Roman Empire. 


1. Learned and a listener and the beloved physician

The Scriptures note that Luke was a physician (Colossians 4:14). A physician of Luke’s day was not the same as modern physicians, since the science of medicine was not far advanced. Even so, the Greeks were head and shoulders above other gentiles when it came to science and medicine and the understanding of the workings of the human body.

Paul’s deep respect and Christian love for Luke surface when he refers to him as “the beloved physician.”

A physician of Luke’s day could work with body and mind, though not in the sense of a modern surgeon. But Luke was interested in people’s well-being; this is evident in his writings. An old saying fits with Luke’s outlook: “A minister sees people at their best, a lawyer sees people at their worst, and a physician sees people as they are.”

Paul’s deep respect and Christian love for Luke surface when he refers to him as “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Luke showed interest in the welfare of women and children, as shown in his Gospel.

Who was the man who would not only encourage Paul during this trying time but write two books of the New Testament? The Scriptures tell us little, but we can find out quite a bit by examining Luke’s work and the times in which he lived.

The early Church was predominantly Jewish. Jesus, the original apostles and later apostles such as Paul were all Jews. But the book of Acts records that, over time, gentiles (non-Jews) came to accept the message of the apostles and became members of the Church Jesus founded.

Luke appears to have been one of the early gentile converts to Christianity. What are the scriptural indications he was a gentile? In Colossians 4:10-14 Paul names three of his companions and coworkers who were “my only fellow workers … who are of the circumcision”-that is, Jewish-and then three other companions, including Luke. The obvious implication is that the latter three were gentiles.

Luke was a learned man, a linguist. He spoke and wrote classical Greek, but he could also converse and write in Hebrew, Aramaic and Hellenistic Greek. His mastery of Greek indicates he probably was a Greek. His dedication shows us he had a heart of gold.

Luke was educated, creative and talented. Among the Mediterranean people of the day, the Greeks were well educated and trained, especially in philosophy, oratory, writing and mathematics. Even the powerful Roman leaders were predisposed to the culture and education of the Greeks, who under Alexander the Great had built a mighty empire that preceded the Romans as the dominant power in the Mediterranean region and Middle East.

Greece provided the world with many famous orators, was regarded for its literary skills and genius and was touted for its educational discipline. Some of the works of Greek philosophers and rhetoricians are still cited by modern philosophers and communication scientists today, 2,500 years later.

It should not be surprising, given these circumstances, that God called a Greek to write one of the four Gospels-those brief biographies of Jesus the Messiah that are preserved for us at the beginning of the New Testament. Nor should we be surprised that Luke would write the definitive history of the early decades of the Church -the book of Acts-during which time it crossed languages and cultures to reach out to gentiles.

2. United companion,a the daring committed friend. 

Few were as fearless as Paul’s friend and trusted companion Luke.

Luke stayed beside Paul, day in and day out, for at least two years. Every day he walked past the Roman guards, who must have grown in their respect for him.

In reality Paul’s enemies were the slanderers: “… We have found this man a plague,” they said, “a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5, emphasis added throughout). 

Charges like this could get one thrown in prison, and in Paul’s case they did. Few dared to accompany or visit Paul under this sort of dangerous and humiliating circumstance.

Luke was faithful because he had a job to do: writing a history of the early years of the Church founded by the man he had become convinced was the very Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth.

Luke stayed beside Paul, day in and out, for at least two years. Every day he walked past the Roman guards, who must have grown in their respect for him. His constancy commanded respect; he was as faithful as clockwork.

Only one thing was more important to Luke than being Paul’s friend: his dedication as a servant of his Master, Jesus Christ.

The “we” sections place Luke with Paul during his initial mission into Greece—i.e., as far as Philippi, in Macedonia (c. 51 CE). It is there that Luke later rejoins Paul and accompanies him on his final journey to Jerusalem (c. 58 CE). After Paul’s arrest in that city and during his extended detention in nearby Caesarea, Luke may have spent considerable time in Palestine working with the apostle as the occasion allowed and gathering materials for his future two-volume literary work, the Gospel and the Acts. In any case, two years later he appears with Paul on his prison voyage from Caesarea to Rome and again, according to the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy 4:11, at the time of the apostle’s martyrdom in Rome (c. 66 CE).

The shift from “they” to “we” :

Acts 16:11-13 (NIV)

[11] From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. [12] From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

Acts 16:11-13 (NIV)

[11] From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. [12] From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

[13] On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 

Acts 20:5-13 (NIV)

[5] These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. [6] But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

Acts 20:15 (NIV)

[15] The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 

3. Kindled another friendship ensuring both books were published -Luke’s friend Theophilus (friend of God). He also kindles the flame of the truth of the story of Jesus the Messiah. KIND WOMAN,CHILDREN AND THE POOR

He addressed both books to the same person, Theophilus (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1).

Theophilus, whose name means “friend of God,” appears nowhere else in the Scriptures. He, too, was apparently a gentile believer, since Luke tells Theophilus that he wrote his Gospel “that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:4).

Some scholars have concluded that Theophilus was a wealthy patron who helped support Luke while he wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts. Notice also that Luke refers to him not just as Theophilus, but “the most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3). This title is typical of those used for officials high in the Roman government (compare Acts 23:26), so perhaps Theophilus held such a position.

In Judea, as in other places throughout the known world, women in Luke’s day held a place low in society. For example, some historical accounts of the time report that Jewish men gave thanks to God each morning that they had not been born a gentile, slave or woman.

Luke’s perspective differs from the common portrayal of women of the time. Luke tells his birth narrative of Christ from Mary’s point of view. Luke writes of Elizabeth, of Anna, of the widow at Nain, of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Luke portrays Martha and Mary and Mary Magdalene.

An invitation for gentiles

Luke appears to have written mainly , though not entirely, for gentiles. Again, Theophilus was probably a gentile. In comparison with the other three Gospels, Luke’s is written to be more easily understood by a gentile.

4. Enduring -Paul’s positive reference to Luke

Luke is first mentioned in the letters of Paul as the latter’s “coworker” and as the “beloved physician.” The former designation is the more significant one, for it identifies him as one of a professional cadre of itinerant Christian “workers,” many of whom were teachers and preachers. His medical skills, like Paul’s tentmaking, may have contributed to his livelihood; but his principal occupation was the advancement of the Christian mission.

If Luke was the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, the course and nature of his ministry may be sketched in more detail from both texts. He excludes himself from those who were eyewitnesses of Christ’s ministry. He indicates participation in the Pauline mission by the use of the first person in the “we” sections of Acts. They suggest that Luke shared in instructing persons in the Christian message and possibly in performing miraculous healings.

Jesus’ parting words, “It is not for you to know times [of the consummation of this age]…but you shall receive power…and you shall be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:7ff), provide a guideline for Luke’s theology. 

He called the church back from overeager speculation about the precise time of the Lord’s return and the end of the age to its proper task of faithful mission in the lengthening interim. By the selection and interpretation of his sources, he charted the path by which the church would understand both its own uniqueness in the world and also its continuing relationship to Judaism and to the world. His work was no small achievement, and through the centuries it has served the church well.

Learned and a listener and the beloved physician

United companion,a the daring committed friend.

Kindled another friendship ensuring both books were published -Luke’s friend Theophilus (friend of God) He also kindles the flame of the truth of the story of Jesus the Messiah

Enduring -Paul’s positive reference to Luke

Tom Barrett- a friend a d octor, a supporter of the faith and one who sacrificially gives of himself in these difficult times to bring healing to our city. Thank you again for allowing me to interview you.

Find the link here to the sermon and the interview.


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