The devotional reading for the feast of St. Luke, Evangelist comes from Concordia Commentary: Luke 1:1–9:50.
2 Timothy 4:5–18
Today the Church remembers St. Luke, the beloved physician and evangelist. The devotional reading gives us insight into the Gospel account that bears his name. We reflect on the Gospel’s role in the lives of its original hearers, as well as its liturgical and catechetical role in the life of the Church.
Luke’s Gospel is written to be heard in the Church’s liturgy. Therefore it uses the literary techniques of the day, based on the principle of balance, to assist the hearers as they listen for significant themes and memorize them. Luke’s Gospel shapes the catechumen’s life in Christ as it inculcates doctrine and historical fact. It describes life under the cross in a hostile world that opposes the Gospel, a life lived in eschatological tension between the now and the not yet. Luke is about conversion, a turning from the dying world to live in a new way. It therefore speaks of things related to conversion: repentance and forgiveness, Baptism, and Table fellowship with God. As a liturgical document, it cannot be understood outside the Church’s worship life. Because it is liturgical, it is also catechetical in that it prepares unbaptized hearers of the Word for Baptism and nurtures the baptized.
The Gospel is addressed to specific first-century hearers in a specific cultural, social, and political milieu. Most of these hearers are converts to Christianity who have come from the ranks of God-fearers or pagan Gentiles who knew not Christ but are now believers through hearing the Gospel.
While those groups are Luke’s hearers, the Gospel itself is written to be read by Jewish-Christian interpreters who lead the worship in a house church. They will read the Gospel and interpret it for the God-fearers and pagan Gentiles. This is the reason the Gospels are more reticent than we might expect, preserving a disciplina arcani, for they are written to be read in the Church by those who are trained both to read and to interpret. The primary Lukan community is different from the communities addressed by the other Gospels. As a catechism for Jewish-Christians to use in catechizing God-fearers and pagan Gentiles, it presents a new narrative of the same events recorded in the other Gospels, but in a manner that is accessible to a Gentile catechumen who needs a more detailed explanation of the OT background and Jewish culture to understand the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus.
From Concordia Commentary: Luke 1:1–9:50, pages 19–20, © 1996 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
“By All Your Saints in Warfare,” LSB 518:26
For that belov’d physician
All praise, whose Gospel shows
The Healer of the nations,
The one who shares our woes.
Your wine and oil, O Savior,
Upon our spirits pour,
And with true balm of Gilead
Anoint us evermore.