Today’s feast is for St. Luke the Evangelist. We take our introduction, devotional reading, and prayer from A Year with the Church Fathers.
- Isaiah 35:5–8
- Psalm 147:1–11; antiphon: v. 12
- 2 Timothy 4:5–18
- Luke 10:1–9
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
St. Luke, the beloved physician referred to by St. Paul (Colossians 4:14), presents us with Jesus, whose blood provides the medicine of immortality. As Luke’s traveling companion, Paul claims 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 (Acts 16:10–17). Luke most likely stayed behind in Philippi for seven years, rejoining Paul at the end of the third missionary journey in Macedonia. 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 10:29–37), the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32), the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) and the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9–14). 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.
Jesus suffered the grief that comes because of persecution when John the Baptist was murdered by Herod Antipas. He knew His path had to lead to the cross, so that He might become the Lamb of God to bear the sin of the world. Therefore, He withdrew from sight and precluded His arrest at the bloody hands of Herod for several reasons. Herod had gotten warmed up by slaughtering John; might he not seek the death of this troublesome Galilean preacher for whom John had been the forerunner? Jesus withdrew to remain within the divine plan to save the world by being lifted up (John 12:32–33). He also set a pattern for us: not every martyrdom is the right one for us to suffer. We do not seek suffering, but we may need to withdraw from it until a propitious moment. Jesus did.
Jesus also knew that John’s martyrdom was a forerunner of His ow. His grief may have been intensified by the horrible loss of His cousin because it clarified that His own death was impending. Every funeral reminds us that death is our enemy also; at some level, we grieve for ourselves. One death is everyone’s death; all the more so for the Savior, because His death would become everyone’s death unto eternal life. Jesus is the Lord who considers precious the death of His people. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15), not least because our death is His death.
Prayer of the Day
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 soul 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.
Introduction, devotional reading, and prayer of the day adapted from A Year with the Church Fathers pages 328-29 Copyright © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.