Who was Luke?
Luke was the author of the Gospel According to Luke and the Book of Acts. The Gospel of Luke chronicles events in the life of Jesus: his birth, ministry, miracles, teachings, death, Atonement, and Resurrection, and contains valuable information not found in the other Gospels. It is from Luke that we gain the most detailed account of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth and childhood. Without Luke, we wouldn’t have the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, the birth of the Savior in a humble stable, or the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds. Luke tells us about of Jesus as a 12 year-old boy, “going about his Father’s business” by teaching the doctors in the temple (Luke 2). Additionally, Luke’s gospel has more of a focus than the other gospels on Christ’s interactions with His female followers, such as the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Acts, a continuation of the Gospel, chronicles the events of the early Church after Jesus' Ascension. This book mostly chronicles the teachings and travels of the Apostle Paul.
In Colossians 4:14, we learn that Luke was a physician. This could explain his interest in Jesus' healings. Also, it would explain the thoroughness and historical focus of his Gospel. Luke clearly interviewed several sources, including some from Jesus' immediate family, from which we gain intimate details about Jesus' life, especially His early childhood. As Dr. Holzapfel pointed out in class, doctors tend to be interested in cause and effect, in the history behind a medical event. So as a physician, Luke would be drawn to researching the history behind Jesus' life.
Luke was one of Paul's traveling companions. He traveled with Paul to Macedonia (Acts 16:10), Ephesus, and Caesarea (Acts 20). He pleaded with Paul not to return to Jerusalem, where he would surely be arrested and killed, but, in hearing Paul's testimony, demonstrated his faith by saying, "The will of the Lord be done" (Acts 21:14). He followed Paul to Jerusalem, where Paul was tried, persecuted and arrested (Acts 21). He then accompanied Paul to Rome (Acts 27) to appeal to Caesar. On the way, Paul, Luke, and their companions were shipwrecked for weeks. (Acts 27) before finally reaching Rome. Luke was Paul's sole companion for at least part of his second imprisonment (2 Timothy 4:11), possibly until Paul’s martyrdom.
I think, however, that the most important description we can give Luke is the one that He gives himself. In the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 1:1, Luke says, “I am a messenger of Jesus Christ.” Luke’s purpose in writing His gospel was to testify of Christ, that those who read, “mightiest know the certainty of those things” (Luke 1:3). A true disciple of Jesus Christ, Luke testified of His birth, ministry, Atonement, and Resurrection, bringing others to the Savior that they might have eternal life. I am so very grateful for his testimony and the additional insight it gives me into the life of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.