St Luke the Physician
Luke was a physician (Col 4:14), who accompanied Paul on some missionary journeys (Acts 16:10ff; 20:5ff; 27-28). He was thought to have studied medicine at Tarsus, and possibly met Paul there. He followed Paul to his martyrdom.
Luke served as a bachelor disciple of Paul continuously until his death at the age of 84 in Thebes. His Gospel uniquely relates the birth and infancy of Jesus, and parables, such as that of the Good Samaritan and of the Prodigal Son. He
includes three of the sayings of Christ on the Cross: “Father, forgive them,” “Thou shalt be with me in Paradise,” and “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
Luke emphasises the human love of Christ, His compassion for sinners and for suffering and unhappy persons, for outcasts such as the Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers, shepherds, and for the poor. The role of women in Christ’s ministry is more prominent in Luke than in the other Gospels.
In the book of Acts, the early Christian community is poised from the start to carry out its commission, confident and aware of Divine guidance. The early Church first preached to the Jews, then to Samaritans, and then to the Gentiles such as Cornelius. It was then clear that the Gentiles and Jews were called on equal terms to the service and fellowship of Christ.
Luke wrote close to the events he described, he was described people and events on which he had good information, and he was an expert historical novelist, with an ear for the authentic-sounding detail. Luke is commonly thought to be the only non-Jewish New Testament writer; he was thought to be of Greco-Syrian origin from Antioch. His writings place the life of Christ and the development of the early Church in the larger context of the Roman Empire and society. His account is focused on Jerusalem and on the Temple, beginning and ending in the Temple. In chapters nine to nineteen he describes Jesus on a journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. In the Book of Acts he describes the Church in Jerusalem (and worshipping in the Temple) and then relates the missionary journeys of Paul as excursions from and to Jerusalem.
Luke is the Patron Saint of artists; tradition has it that he was the first to paint icons.
Traditionally, the four evangelists are symbolised by a man for Matthew, a lion for Mark, an ox for Luke and an eagle for John, from revelation 4: 6-10. The gold winged ox represents the sacrificial nature of the life and death of Jesus which is so prominent in Luke’s Gospel.