To quote the NIV Study Bible,
“Luke was probably a Gentile by birth, well-educated in Greek culture, a physician by profession, a companion of Paul at various times from his second missionary journey to his final imprisonment in Rome, and a loyal friend who remained with the apostle after others had deserted him.”
Luke was a Gentile convert to Christianity and was exactly the kind of person the Apostle Paul spent his life trying to reach. Luke’s commitment to Paul, his authorship of the third Gospel and the Book of Acts suggests he was one of the most committed non-apostolic followers of Christ in the early church. Tradition holds that Luke was with Paul at Paul’s martyrdom, and that he continued to serve the Lord unmarried and without children until his death in Boeotia in Greece at 84 years of age.
It is significant to me that a highly committed Gentile convert who accompanied the greatest missionary to the Gentile world (Paul) is the only Gospel author who included this parable in his account of Jesus’ life. Without going into too much detail regarding the genre of the Gospels (which will be covered in a future post), I do want to explore for a moment why Luke was the one to write about this parable. Luke was a medical doctor; could it be that he was intrigued by the psychological implications of this parable? Or could it be Luke felt this story would be particularly meaningful to other Gentiles?
I don’t believe there is any language in the parable which suggests the nationality of the Rich Man or the Manager, and as I noted yesterday the location Luke places this story was multi-cultural. Perhaps Luke was the only one to include this parable because it translated well from the Jewish world into the Gentile world. Romans and Greeks would have been easily able to relate to the idea of rich men, managers, slaves and servants…but now I’m straying into another post topic!
- Are there any salient details of the life and/or person of the author I missed?
- Do you think there is any significance to our understanding of the parable related to the identity of the author? In other words, how does our understanding of the author inform us about the parable?
- Imagine for a moment Luke’s life before and after hearing about Jesus. What kind of transformation do you think took place?