Friday, December 23, 2005

Patron Saint of the Investigative Reporter

Everybody seems to read the Luke account of the birth of the Christ, for some reason. It is unfortunate that the Matthew account is so frequently neglected, to be honest.
But this remark should be taken as nothing against Luke. Actually, the Gospel of Luke is my favorite gospel. And Luke is my favorite canonical author.

Luke, unlike the other four Gospel writers, was not an eye-witness to the events of his account of the life, death, and life of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, and God Incarnate. In a way, the eyewitness accounts should be more appealing to readers (and they are indeed very special for that reason), but at the same time the physician’s Gospel has a strength of its own for the opposite.

Luke, personal friend of Paul the Apostle, set off on a journey to discover the exactitude of the events of the life of Paul’s Savior and his, through multiple eyewitnesses’ testimonies. He, through a beautiful diligence and devotion, set down the definitive chronological Gospel. Whereas John, Matthew, and Mark gave their very personal reports of the events that define our calendar (and our world), Luke gave a more distanced historical framework that the reader “might know the exact truth about the things [he has] been taught.” {1:4)

The image of Luke “having investigated everything carefully from the beginning” {1:3) is one of inspiration to me: the hard-nosed reporter after the story of a lifetime—after the ultimate story.

And Luke couldn’t have been much less than hard-nosed. His second Biblical work, referred to as “The Acts of the Apostles” or simply “Acts,” details (among a great many other things) Paul’s legal trials. And after that, Paul’s shipment to Rome as a prisoner. And how did Luke learn all the details of Paul’s voyage to Rome? Careful research? In this instance his research was that of tagging along.
I don’t see many wimps volunteering to travel on a ship filled with convicts and their military guards, openly claiming both his role as one prisoner’s friend and his belief in the very principles that got that prisoner his shackles. Heading straight for a hoped meeting with a world ruler as hostile to those beliefs as just about any ruler ever has been.

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