- the peaceful Christmas stories (to balance Matthew’s fearful nativity cycle),
- some magnificent parables (such as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son),
- Jesus’ saying on the cross, “Father, forgive them...,” and
- Jesus’ walk to Emmaus with two disciples on Easter day.
Otherwise, Luke was used to supplement (harmonize) the total Gospel story presented mainly in Matthew, or to provide a little compassion for the poor to balance the super-high Christ doctrine of the Gospel of John.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, the first three Gospels had been sorted out into two early documents – the Gospel of Mark and the Sayings Source Q – and other materials contained only in either Matthew (M) or Luke (L). Matthew and Luke themselves were composite documents, of historical value only for the later development of the Jesus tradition and of the early church.
When the Gospel was Composed.
On Jesus’ Return in Glory
On the Challenge of the “Meantime.”
On the Church: Luke thinks of churches – not the Church.
- Mark has no church; only discipleship, those following Jesus toward martyrdom or his return in power.
- John has no church; only a mystic communion of disciples, exemplified in the Disciple that Jesus Loved. (The appendix in John 21 does have a church, fed by Peter.)
- Matthew has a Church – with Authority. Only Matthew has the word “church,” ekklesia, assembly (Matthew ; ). “...you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19, NRSV).
- Luke has no “church” in the Gospel, but in Acts Luke presents the Courage to be the churches.