Reflections on Luke's Gospel

Isn’t this the same old thing?

I know that after reading Matthew and Mark, several of you probably read Luke and started to say, “This is the same thing over again…BORING!”  Of course the basic story of Jesus is the same. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are parallel gospels and do tell the same old story. But each is unique and without Luke, we would miss very important stories of our faith!

If we never had Luke’s gospel, we would not hear the story of Jesus’ birth.  We would miss the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist.  We would not have any story of Jesus before he was an adult. So the first few chapters are definitely different and cherished by us!  I imagine most of you noticed those differences but when you get into Jesus’ ministry and start reading, you often just reread the same stories.  When you look closely even some of those same old stories have some significant difference which is worth a closer look.  But more importantly, there are a few great ones that are only in Luke!

Without Luke, we would not have the parable of the Good Samaritan.  We also would be without the parable of the Prodigal Son and the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  All of these and several other shorter and less known parables are only in Luke! 

Some of the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry are only in Luke’s gospel as well.  The story of Mary and Martha is only in Luke.  We would not know about Zacchaeus without Luke’s gospel – so no catchy tune about that wee little man!  It is only in Luke that we read about the disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

So every time you start to wonder why we have four gospels and think that surely we could without Matthew, Mark or Luke, take some time to see what is different in that gospel!  Remember even with all the similarities, it often takes us three or four times of hearing or reading something before we really pay attention to it!  Also read closely and see the differences in the way the story is told… each gospel really is unique in many ways.

Now as you begin John’s gospel, know that it is noticeably different than the other three!