Friday, May 19, 2017

Linking the Gospel of Luke to Proverbs


Luke is our third gospel account of the life of Christ. Luke writes from a perspective different from the others because he was not an apostle, however, as a Greco-Syrian physician who traveled with St. Paul and spoke with many eyewitnesses, his accounts are accepted and authenticated. Luke was a well-educated man as evidenced by his command of the Greek language. His Latin name hints that he was probably not Jewish. Scholars believe his Gospel was written between 70 and 80 A.D.
Right away I’m going to link Luke to Proverbs, because Proverbs (a book of Wisdom) is the 20th book in the Bible, matching up to the 20th Hebrew letter, resh, and Luke appears 22 books later, also matching up to resh. In my research I found instances where writers referred to Luke as the “Proverbial Gospel” so I did my own chart to see if I could corroborate this claim. I found 41 parables in all in Matthew, Mark and Luke. John doesn’t have a single parable though it does contain allegories. There are 41 different parables, 23 in Matthew, only 9 in Mark, and the most, 29, in Luke with 17 of those being unique to this Gospel.
First I want to show you how the word parable relates to the word proverb. In Luke 4:23 we find this:
23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
It’s interesting first of all that Luke, the physician, uses this quotation from Jesus. Second, the word here in Greek for proverb is parabol√© from which we get the word parable. You could say that all of these parables are like proverbs in that they are wise sayings. Furthermore, we find Luke describing Jesus’ early life in the following two verses (Luke 2: 40, 52):
40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Now read these three nearly identical passages from Matthew 10: 19, 20, Mark 13: 11, 12 and Luke 21:12-15:
19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
  12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
Only in Luke do we find the promise of wisdom added to the story. How would Luke know that by including this he would be making a perfect link to the Old Testament book? But wait, there’s more. In Matthew 23: 34 Jesus says:
34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
But in Luke 11: 49 Jesus’ words from the same speech are recorded like this:
49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’
Thus, Luke, or rather God, has interlocked this book with the book of Proverbs (wise sayings) through the word wisdom. 
Next week I'll show some other cool things about Luke's choice of words.