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Cover of "The Greatest Story Ever Told"

Cover of The Greatest Story Ever Told

The gospel of Luke is one of four New Testament gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…four narratives of the life of Jesus.  They are monumental.  They are inspired by the Spirit of God.  They tell the great, great, story of salvation.  But Luke’s is unique.  I like to call it a persuasive gospel, and you’ll understand why as we work our way through the beginning of this wonderful work of Luke

In a summary, or a synopsis, it is the story of God’s plan to save sinners from eternal hell through the coming of His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die and rise again from the dead.  Let me say that again.  That’s the summary of the best of all stories, the greatest story ever told.  It is the story of God’s plan to save sinners from eternal hell through the coming of His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die and rise again from the dead.  The story is true.  It is actual history.  It is without equal in its impact and its power.

In fact, not all the simple and complex legends of ancient cultures, not all the mysteries of past civilizations, the fanciful, supernatural legends of the Greeks, the stories of deities, false gods and all kinds of tales of people that exist in the traditions of tribes and nations, the best of our own culture from Bierwolfe(??) through Shakespeare to modern writers,  Aesop’s insightful fables, not all of them combined can even begin to approach the truth and the power of the story of Jesus which is the only story that can, has and will change the eternal destiny of millions of people.

This story is called good news.  The word “gospel” means good news.  It is the best news that man has ever heard because it is the news of salvation from sin.

So I say, next to Paul, Luke is the most powerful writing force in the New Testament, and yet he is basically unknown.  I don’t think in my life I’ve ever heard a sermon about Luke.  His historical narrative spans over 60 years.  It starts with the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Jesus, and it ends at the end of the book of Acts which is volume two of his writings, it ends with the gospel being preached at Rome which means the gospel has extended to the world.  No other writer wrote so comprehensive a history of Jesus and His impact.  No other writer goes all the way from the John the Baptist to the gospel having reached the capital of the Roman Empire.  He is the most complete story teller of the saga of salvation in the New Testament,

This is real history accurately recorded.  It is sound theology logically developed.  Luke identifies what he writes  in verse 4 of chapter 1 of exact truth…exact truth.  It isn’t fantasy, it isn’t his own spiritual musings.  It isn’t some effort on his part to concoct a tale or to build a legend.  What he is giving is history and theology that is exact.

Let’s listen as Luke begins his gospel.  “In as much as many have…and I’m reading from the NAS here…In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eye witnesses and servants of the Word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus, so that you might know the exaThat is what we would call a prologue.  Actually the story begins in verse 5, “In the days of Herod…etc.”  This is a prologue.  It is important for Luke to write this prologue because this is the classic way of writing in the Greek world.  Any philosopher, any theologian, any educator, any historian in the ancient world who was of high quality who wanted his volume to stand on the shelf with the classics would start his writing with such a prologue.  Herodotus did it.  Thucydides did it.  Polybius did it.  Even Josephus did it.  And Luke does it.ct truth about the things you have been taught.”  Stop right there.and he is mostly unknown to us.