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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English

The Watchtower—Study Edition  |  March 2008

Highlights From the Book of Luke

Highlights From the Book of Luke

 Jehovah’s Word Is Alive

Highlights From the Book of Luke

MATTHEW’S Gospel is understood to have been written primarily for the Jewish reader, and Mark’s Gospel, for the non-Jewish. However, the Gospel of Luke was intended for people of all nations. Written about 56-58 C.E., the book of Luke is a comprehensive account of Jesus’ life and ministry.

With the eye of a caring and careful physician, Luke traces “all things from the start with accuracy” and covers a period of 35 years​—from 3 B.C.E. to 33 C.E. (Luke 1:3) Nearly 60 percent of the material in Luke’s Gospel is unique.

EARLY MINISTRY

(Luke 1:1–9:62)

After relating details about the birth of John the Baptizer and of Jesus, Luke tells us that John began his ministry in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, that is, in the spring of 29 C.E. (Luke 3:1, 2) Jesus is baptized by John in the fall of that year. (Luke 3:21, 22) By 30 C.E., ‘Jesus returns into Galilee and begins to teach in their synagogues.’​—Luke 4:14, 15.

Jesus sets out on his first preaching tour of Galilee. He tells the crowd: “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 4:43) He takes along with him Simon the fisherman and others. He says: “From now on you will be catching men alive.” (Luke 5:1-11; Matt. 4:18, 19) The 12 apostles are with Jesus during his second preaching tour of Galilee. (Luke 8:1) On the third tour, he sends forth the 12 “to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.”​—Luke 9:1, 2.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

1:35—Did Mary’s egg cell, or ovum, have any part in her pregnancy? For Mary’s child to be a true descendant of her ancestors Abraham, Judah, and David, as God had promised, her ovum had to contribute toward her pregnancy. (Gen. 22:15, 18; 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:8, 16) However, Jehovah’s holy spirit was used in transferring the perfect life of God’s Son and causing the conception. (Matt. 1:18) It would appear that this canceled out any imperfection existing in Mary’s ovum and from the very start protected the developing embryo from anything hurtful.

1:62—Did Zechariah become mute and deaf? No. Only his speech was affected. Others asked “by signs” what he wanted to name the child but not because Zechariah was deaf. He very likely heard what his wife had said about naming their son. Perhaps others inquired of Zechariah about this by making a sign or a gesture. The fact that only his speech needed to be restored indicates that Zechariah’s hearing had not been affected.​—Luke 1:13, 18-20, 60-64.

2:1, 2—How does the reference to “this first registration” help determine the time of Jesus’ birth? Under Caesar Augustus, more than one registration took place​—the first in 2 B.C.E. in fulfillment of Daniel 11:20 and the second in 6 or 7 C.E. (Acts 5:37) Quirinius served as governor of Syria during both of these registrations, evidently occupying that position twice. Luke’s reference to the first registration places the date of Jesus’ birth in 2 B.C.E.

2:35—How was “a long sword” to be run through Mary’s soul? This refers to the distress  Mary would experience upon seeing the majority of the people reject Jesus as the Messiah and the grief she would feel over his painful death.​—John 19:25.

9:27, 28—Why does Luke say that the transfiguration took place “eight days” after Jesus promised his disciples that some of them would “not taste death at all” until they had seen him coming in his Kingdom, whereas both Matthew and Mark state that it was “six days later”? (Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2) Luke apparently includes two additional days​—the day of the promise and the day of the fulfillment.

9:49, 50—Why did Jesus not prevent a man from expelling demons, even though the man was not following him? Jesus did not prevent the man because the Christian congregation had not yet been formed. Hence, it was not required that the man physically accompany Jesus in order to exercise faith in Jesus’ name and expel demons.​—Mark 9:38-40.

Lessons for Us:

1:32, 33; 2:19, 51. Mary preserved in her heart the events and sayings that fulfilled prophecies. Do we treasure up what Jesus foretold about “the conclusion of the system of things,” comparing what he said with what is happening today?​—Matt. 24:3.

2:37. Anna’s example teaches us that we should worship Jehovah with constancy, “persevere in prayer,” and not forsake “the gathering of ourselves together” at Christian meetings.​—Rom. 12:12; Heb. 10:24, 25.

2:41-50. Joseph put spiritual interests first in his life and cared for the physical and spiritual welfare of his family. In these respects, he set a fine example for family heads.

4:4. We should not let a day go by without considering spiritual matters.

6:40. A teacher of God’s Word must set a proper example for his students. He must practice what he preaches.

8:15. To “retain [the word] and bear fruit with endurance,” we must understand, appreciate, and absorb the Word of God. Prayerful meditation is a must when reading the Bible and Bible-based publications.

JESUS’ LATER MINISTRY

(Luke 10:1–24:53)

Jesus sends forth 70 others in advance of him into cities and places in Judea. (Luke 10:1) He journeys “from city to city and from village to village, teaching.”​—Luke 13:22.

Five days before the Passover of 33 C.E., Jesus enters Jerusalem riding upon a colt. The time has come for the fulfillment of his words to his disciples: “The Son of man must undergo many sufferings and be rejected by the older men and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised up.”​—Luke 9:22, 44.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

10:18—What was Jesus referring to when he told the 70 disciples: “I began to behold Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven”? Jesus was not stating that Satan had already been ousted from heaven. That did not take place until shortly after Christ  was installed as heavenly King in 1914. (Rev. 12:1-10) Although we cannot be dogmatic, by referring to a future event in the past tense, Jesus was evidently emphasizing that it would certainly happen.

14:26—In what sense are Christ’s followers to “hate” their relatives? In the Bible, “hate” can refer to loving a person or an object to a lesser degree than another. (Gen. 29:30, 31) Christians are to “hate” their relatives in the sense of loving them less than they do Jesus.​—Matt. 10:37.

17:34-37—Who are “the eagles,” and what is “the body” where they gather together? Those “taken along,” or delivered, are likened to farsighted eagles. “The body” they gather to is the true Christ at his invisible presence and the spiritual food that Jehovah provides for them.​—Matt. 24:28.

22:44—Why did Jesus experience so much agony? This occurred for a number of reasons. Jesus was concerned about how his death as a criminal would affect Jehovah God and His name. Moreover, Jesus knew very well that his eternal life and the future of the entire human race depended on his remaining faithful.

23:44—Did a solar eclipse cause the three-hour-long darkness? No. Solar eclipses take place only at the time of the new moon, not when the moon is full, as is the case at Passover time. The darkness caused on the day of Jesus’ death was a miracle from God.

Lessons for Us:

11:1-4. Comparing these instructions with the slightly different wording of the model prayer, given in the Sermon on the Mount some 18 months earlier, clearly shows us that our prayers should not be a mere repetition of certain words.​—Matt. 6:9-13.

11:5, 13. Although Jehovah is willing to answer our prayers, we should be persistent when praying.​—1 John 5:14.

11:27, 28. Genuine happiness comes from faithfully doing God’s will and not from family relationships or material accomplishments.

11:41. Our gifts of mercy should stem from a loving and willing heart.

12:47, 48. One who has greater responsibility but fails to care for it is more blameworthy than one who does not know or fully understand his duties.

14:28, 29. We are wise to live within our means.

22:36-38. Jesus did not ask his disciples to carry a weapon for protection or self-defense. Rather, their having swords on hand on the night of his betrayal made it possible for Jesus to teach them a vital lesson: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword.”​—Matt. 26:52.

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Joseph set a fine example as a family head

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Luke wrote the most comprehensive account of Jesus’ life and ministry