Who was Dr. Luke?

This is the first in a series of talks, which discuss basic concepts of health.  That is how can we live healthier.  Certainly when we are healthier we not only feel better but we also are able to do better and more work. However, regardless of how good and healthy we try to live all of us will eventually die.  Further, even in the best of health all of us experience times of suffering.  This suffering can be either physical or mental or both at the same time. 

The Bible though has a lot to say about health.  In fact the main writer of the New Testament portion of the Bible was a doctor.  His name was Dr. Luke.  Just who was Dr. Luke?  Well, Luke was a doctor who lived in the area of modern day Israel about 2000 years ago.  He lived just after the time Jesus Christ lived.  Though Jesus Christ was a Jew, Dr. Luke was of Greek descent.  He would have known both Greek and Hebrew languages.  The Greek language was the most developed language of the time and thus the best language in which to write his thoughts.  The Hebrew was the language Jesus Christ would have spoken.

Thus living in Palestine (that is what is current day Israel) and being a Greek who knew both the Hebrew and Greek languages Dr. Luke would have been uniquely placed to understand both western and eastern cultures and approaches to health care and the medicine of the time.

But rather than talk about Dr. Luke, wouldn’t it be better to go to his writings and see what he said about health?   What is most important is not so much what he said about health but the person about who Dr. Luke said is able to make us be healthy. This is important as what we care about the most in healing is that a person gets healthy and finding the doctor who is able to help that person get well.  Dr. Luke writes about such a person. Let us see what Dr. Luke wrote about this person.

Dr. Luke writes:  ‘Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’

Dr. Luke here is writing here about how he gathered information about this person who provided so much good health.  He first interviewed good eyewitnesses and then wrote an orderly account so that they would know the certainty of his writings. That is if these writings were true or not.

Just who was this person that Dr. Luke was writing about who was able to make people healthy.  Again, let us let Dr. Luke’s writings tell us about this person. 

Dr. Luke again writes:  ‘Jesus went to the home of Simon.  Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.  So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.  She got up at once and began to wait on them.  When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each of them he healed them.’

This writing shows that the person was a man named Jesus. He was able to heal people of not only fever but also many other illnesses.  He simply had the ability and power to heal people immediately.  This is certainly amazing! Isn’t it? How was he able to do this?  Also how was he able to heal immediately?  Also how was he able to heal so many different illnesses?  Did he have some special training? Did he have some special power?  Just how did he do this and how did this happen?  Did he find people who faked illnesses and thus all of the supposed healing was fake?  Let us look at some of the other writings of Dr. Luke about this.

Dr. Luke writes:  “One day as he, that is Jesus, was teaching, leaders came to him from every village of Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem.  And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.  Some men came carrying a paralytic on mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.  Whey they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’  When the leaders (that is those leaders from all of the other cities and regions who came to hear Jesus) they were upset with Jesus.  They said thought ‘Who is this speaking?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?’  Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, ‘Why are thinking these thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…’ “ He said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’  Immediately the man stood up in front of them, took what he was lying on and went home praising God for what had happened.  The people who saw this were filled with amazement and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’”

This is another amazing story Dr. Luke tells about this man Jesus.  But this story helps us to learn more about Jesus and how he is involved with the health of people on this world we live in. What is that we learn from this story?

First, he was very popular.  People from all over the area and many towns came to hear him. Plus the house he was teaching in was so full the friends with the paralyzed man could not even get inside the house.  The second thing we learn is that Jesus had ‘power from the Lord to heal.’  His power was from God.  The third thing we learn is that Jesus was not only involved with healing people of their physical diseases but also of their spiritual diseases.  What was the name of the spiritual disease Jesus healed this man of?  It is called ‘sin’ or doing wrong or going against what God would want us to do?  This is amazing, not only did Jesus heal people of physical illnesses or disease but also spiritual ones. Healing is of very hard as doctors can be expensive, suffering is involved  and often the treatment does not work?  Apparently for Jesus healing and forgiving sins was not hard.  The fourth point we learn from this story is that Jesus not only knows what is going on outside of people but he knew the thoughts of men.  If he knows the thoughts of men does he know our thoughts as well?  Fifth, is that Jesus calls himself the ‘Son of Man.’ Also he says that the ‘Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’  What does this mean?  It certainly means that Jesus could be related to God himself.   Finally we see this man who was paralyzed get up and walk.  This certainly could not be a fake for all of the people would have known if this man was paralyzed or not.  Thus Jesus really could heal so many people. 

Up to know we have learned that Dr. Luke is writing about a man named Jesus who was able to heal a lot of people with a lot of different illnesses, even severe ones such as paralysis.  He also wrote that this Jesus was able to heal people not only of physical illnesses but also spiritual illness.  The spiritual illness is called ‘sin’ or missing the mark of what God would want us to do.

Why is it important to be healed of both physical and spiritual illness?  Ancient and modern medicine both believe that many people who have physical illnesses or even mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety have them due to problems or wrong doings or even called ‘sin’ in their life.  For example people may lie about something or cheat or steal.  After they do this action they feel bad. But they do not return the items stolen or apologize for their wrong actions.  As a result they feel bad.  Over time, which could be days, weeks, months or even years, this sense of feeling bad may become guilt and later depression which can then become chronic fatigue and even turn into real physical health problems.  Many doctors today believe that chronic depression can lead to heart problems.  Another example is anger.  Some people with anger have blood pressure problems, which if uncontrolled over time can lead to strokes.  

Thus Jesus’ healing this man of both his paralysis and his sin provided this man with complete healing.  The man could have been healed of his paralysis but not of his sin and could have possibly had other health problems.

These stories show Jesus’ remarkable healing powers of our physical illnesses and also of our spiritual ones.  But even if Jesus provides physical healing during life what good is it if we will all later die of other physical problems?  Certainly it can relieve suffering now in this point of life but what about after we die?  Does Jesus have any power over death?

Dr. Luke writes about a young man who had died, he writes as follows:  “As Jesus approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.  And a large crowd from the town was with her.  When Jesus saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’  Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still.  He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up.’  The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

This is again another amazing story about Jesus.  It shows his heart of great compassion for this widowed lady as well as Jesus having power over even death.   What other person do you now of who has ever had power to heal physical illness, heal spiritual illness and then raise people from the dead?  No other great man or prophet or teacher who ever lived in the world could say this. This should give us great comfort that the next time we are sick we can call on Jesus to help us and when we sin we can call on him as well to heal us. 

Dr. Luke though had many other stories, all found in the Bible, all of which tell us about Jesus.  The most important story Dr. Luke writes about was not only did Jesus heal people and raise people from the dead, he himself died for the sins or wrongdoings of mankind.  He took on himself the sins or wrongdoing of man so that they could come before God.  Why?  Because sin separates us from God.  Once we sin we are separated from God and thus like in stealing or cheating or murder have a debt we must pay.  But how can we pay our debt to God?  We cannot, but Jesus did for us. He died on a Cross to forgive us for our sins. Not only this but after he died he was raised to life to show he had power not only over physical illness but over the power of sin which is death.  Jesus also told us that if we would believe that he died for our sins and also believe that he rose from the dead we would live forever.  We may die but one day he will bring us to eternal life with him forever. Should you have a desire to have Jesus help you with your physical problems but also to save you from your sins all you need do is to ask Jesus to do this.  You could say the following prayer:

‘Dear Jesus, I have sinned and done wrong.  I believe that God exists and that you are his Son.  Jesus I believe you came to earth to die on the Cross for my sins so that I could be saved.  I believe that you rose from the dead and are still living even now.  I want to experience this new life in Jesus.’

If you have prayed this prayer you are now a child of God and will have everlasting life.

So, who was Dr. Luke?  Dr. Luke was a Greek/Hebrew doctor who wrote extensively about Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the ‘Great Physician’ who is able to not only heal us from our physical illnesses but also from our spiritual ones as well.  Most importantly he is able to overcome death and he himself took on himself our sins so that we could have eternal life with him.  

I would encourage you to find a Bible and read from it to learn more about what Dr. Luke has to say about health and healing through Jesus Christ.