INI + AMEN.
St. Luke’s Day. “Luke, the beloved physician.” We honor Dr. Luke today, by “giving thanks to God because He has given…” (AP XXI) Luke “…to the Church.” (AP XXI Gifted Luke not as a medical doctor, but rather as an evangelist. He’s one of the four evangelists. He wrote a Gospel, as did Matthew, Mark, and John.
“Evangel” means “Good News,” the Good News of what Jesus has done for you—died and risen. Evangelist is someone who tells the Gospel, that Jesus has died and risen for you. Luke just happened to have written his down. Evangelism and evangelist has to with delivering Jesus’ Gospel message.
We also honor Luke today by imitating him. We of course imitate Luke’s faith, He trusted in Jesus alone we know that because his Gospel points to Jesus saving you alone, and we imitate that faith. But we are also on the flip side of imitating Luke. That sounds weird. Let me put that a different way, we’re on the receiving end of imitating Luke. Ok, maybe that doesn’t help.
So, what am I trying to say? Well, Luke wrote. In his Gospel, Luke told about what Jesus began to do and teach. In his sequel, the Book of Acts, Luke wrote about what Jesus continued to do and teach through His Holy Christian and Apostolic Church. So, Luke wrote, and the flip side of that, the receiving end of that would be reading and receiving what he wrote.
So, we honor Luke by imitating his faith in Christ alone, of course. We honor Luke by actually making time to read what he wrote. (Reading also cherishes and does the 3rd Commandment!) When we imitate and read Luke, we’re actually giving thanks to God for Luke, because through Luke we hear about our Savior, Jesus. The Spirit inspired Luke to write Jesus’ Gospel Message. That’s why we’re thankful for Luke, today. We honor Luke not by calling upon him, but by being thankful to God for him. He was God’s chosen instrument, a good doctor, who laid out “an orderly account” of the Gospel Message of the Great Physician, our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
((2. What is Jesus’ Gospel message?))
So, what is Jesus’ Gospel message? Well, it’s all laid out for us in different ways in all three of our readings today.
Isaiah, sometimes called the Old Testament Gospel, preaches that “Waters will break forth in the wilderness, streams in the desert. Sand will become a pool. Grass will become reeds.” “The blind will see, the deaf hear.” Life from death. “No unclean thing”—forgiveness of sins! The Way of Holiness. Jesus is that Way. He brings holiness, forgiveness, life “with His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.” He brings life from death by rising from the dead. And the backspin of this Gospel, the spiritual diagnosis in Isaiah is that you have a thirst, a death, sins, uncleanness to be rescued from. They aren’t just bad habits you can fix. You’re rescued by Jesus because you can’t do it yourself, and you need to stop trying.
Jesus’ Gospel’s in our Epistle, too. “The Lord [Jesus], the righteous Judge,” will give “the crown of righteousness…to all who love His appearing.” We love His appearing because of His great love for us in His appearing! He was “born of the Virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate.” The Lord Jesus, just like His Father, “delivers us from evil,” and “saves us,” all the way “into His heavenly kingdom.” Forgiveness, too! “May it not be charged against them!” Paul declares. He’s saying, “May God forgive them!”
Jesus’ Gospel Message is also in Luke 10. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’” Jesus’ messenger are supposed to proclaim “peace,” His peace. “Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” through His death and resurrection. Which doesn’t just win peace with God, but also restores peace with each other. Resurrection, life from death also in Luke 10. “Heal the sick in it,” Jesus says, “and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Jesus’ Kingdom delivered in the forgiveness of sins, which promises resurrection from the dead. A sign of Jesus’ own resurrection delivered by the 72. Healing the sick.
Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Him alone. He’s died and risen for all. There His Kingdom. There Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. The Gospel Message that He won salvation for us goes out. That’s the message that gets delivered. Different aspects of that message laid out in all three readings today.
But how is that message delivered? Well, that, too, is laid out in different ways in all our readings. First, Isaiah.
((1. How is Jesus’ Gospel message delivered?))
How is the Gospel message delivered in our Old Testament? Well, through Isaiah! Isaiah is a Prophet, a preacher of Promise. That’s what all the Prophets were. That was their primary responsibility—to preach the coming Savior and His salvation. Isaiah does that in spades today—preaching of Jesus!
Yes, that’s right. Isaiah’s words are fulfilled by Jesus Himself. Jesus echoes Isaiah 35 when He says in Luke 7, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” So, Jesus also delivers His own Gospel message Himself! Preaching of what He does for sinners—saving them, dying and rising for them! So also Luke tells us, “The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.” Jesus would go there. But those 72 also! Messages need messengers. Preachments need preachers. They in addition to the 12 go around preaching Jesus’ coming. Paul also mentions this today!
Paul says to Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist,” that is, preach the Gospel! The Evangel needs an evangelist. The Gospel a Gospel preacher. Paul also said that the Lord strengthened Him so that “through me the preaching would be fulfilled and all nation would hear.” But not just pastors and preachers. All Christians! “Greet Prisca and Aquilla,” Paul says in the very next verse after our Epistle reading stops. Priscilla and Aquilla were faithful lay Christians who were so acquainted with the Bible, that they both—a husband and wife (a woman!)—corrected Pastor Apollos when he got mixed up about the Gospel. (Based on the details in Acts, you could argue it was her leading the charge in that faithful, loving, and even good work.)
But it’s not just the spoken evangel. It’s the written one, too! That’s what Prscilla and Aquilla were acquainted with, as was Timothy—the Scriptures! And it’s why we’re thankful today. Luke wrote his Gospel, so did his friend and colleague Mark—both mentioned in 2 Timothy 4! Not only that, Paul tells Timothy, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” Written Gospel! Written good news! Written for you.
The Lord’s Gospel message goes out. The Gospel is that He has died and risen for you. His Gospel message is delivered right to you. Physical Gospel—Sacraments. Holy Baptism and Holy Absolution and Holy Communion all delivering in different ways the forgiveness of sins, new life, and eternal salvation that Jesus won for you on Good Friday and Easter.
That Gospel message is also spoken. Jesus told about what He would do. Jesus sent out the 12 to do the same. Jesus also picked out 72 others who proclaimed Him “in all the cities where He Himself would go,”
So also today. Not 72, but [[9 called pastors || 17 called pastors]] including myself. “Called and ordained,” that is, “appointed by the Lord to go on ahead of Him to every town and place,” until He will come again. You, too! For those around you, until then.
But today we’re really thankful for Luke. He wrote that Gospel message down. The Spirit inspired him to do it, so you—you!—would have “an orderly account of what Jesus began and continues to do.” Luke wrote Luke and Acts for you. What a gift! WRITTEN OR SPOKEN, JESUS DELIVERS HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE TO YOU.
That’s what it’s all about, after all. Jesus getting, delivering His Gospel message to you. This isn’t just a Sunday morning Gift, but the Bible on your shelf is a testament to the fact that Jesus wants it for you all the time. It’s why Jesus sent the Spirit to Luke so that Luke would write Jesus’ Gospel message down, write it down for you, for me, and for all people.
That’s what St. Luke’s day is all about. Gospel message to you. Delivered. Free salvation in Jesus, trusting Him alone. Free delivery, too. Can’t beat those prices. WRITTEN OR SPOKEN, JESUS DELIVERS HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE TO YOU.
INI + AMEN.