Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Martyr Moment: Luke

Foxe's Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book's purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.

Luke

Luke was a Gentile, possibly a Greek. It's not known as to when or how he was converted. He was a physician in Troas and was probably converted there by Paul, especially since it was at Troas that he attached himself to Paul's party and started traveling with them. Notice in Acts 16:8-10, that it is at Troas he switches from "they" to "we" in his text-

"So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10And when Paulc had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them."

Luke went with Paul to Philippi, but was not imprisoned with him and did not travel with him after his release. He apparently made Philippi his home and stayed for some time. It's not until Paul's visit to Philippi (Acts 20:5-6) about seven years later, that we again meet with Luke. From this time he again traveled with Paul and stayed with him during his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6-21:18). But he disappears once more during Paul's imprisonment at Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only shows up again when Paul starts for Rome (Acts 27:1). He then stayed with Paul through his first imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14). Many bible scholars believe Luke write his Gospel and Acts when in Rome with Paul during this time. During Paul's second imprisonment, Luke apparently stayed nearby or with Paul, but because just before his martyrdom, Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "only Luke is with me." (2 Timothy 4:11).

After Paul's death, Luke apparently continued to evangelize as he had learned to do with Paul. Exactly when and how he died is unknown. One ancient source states "He served the Lord without distraction, having neither wife nor children and at the age of 84 he fell asleep in Boeatia (Place unknown), full of the Holy Spirit." Another early source said he went to Greece to evangelize, and was there martyred by being hung from and olive tree in Athens in AD 93.

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