Women in Luke’s Gospel

Luke highlighted the Holy Spirit’s activity in the lives of the women involved with Jesus’ birth.

When Luke wrote his gospel, around twenty-five years after Jesus had risen up into heaven, his intention was to write a historical account, while bringing out the theological significance of the history.

Remember that Luke was a university man, well educated, a doctor, well-grounded in science and logic. For him truth was concrete. He wasn’t the kind of person who would be taken in by magic tricks, or con men, or persuasive talk. So when he wrote his gospel, and his second volume, Acts, he was intent on providing factual, reliable evidence to other educated, scientific, sophisticated, logical thinkers, such as his friend Theophilus.

We can thank Luke for being such careful historian, because he named names and dates all throughout this document, which continue to be verified as new archeological evidence is unearthed.

Luke’s account of Jesus’ life is the longest of the four gospels, and many of the details surrounding Jesus’ birth are found only in Luke. I’m not the only one who thinks Luke collaborated with Mary, at least when he wrote his gospel, since he includes details only she could have known. Only in his gospel will you find John the Baptist's birth story, the census and travel to Bethlehem, the birth in a manger, and a story from Jesus' childhood.

Like Matthew, Luke recounted a royal genealogy and a virgin birth for Jesus, it’s over in chapter 3:21. Matthew, however, was writing to a Jewish audience, so Matthew traced Jesus' birth back through the line of David to Abraham. Unlike Matthew, Luke was writing to a Gentile audience, so Luke traced Jesus' lineage back to Adam, indicating that salvation was available to all people—no matter your people group, or culture of origin.  

One of Luke’s special emphases was Jesus' compassion to everyone:

   * Women were important among Jesus’ followers

   * Jesus commended the faith of despised Samaritans

   * Gentiles are promised the opportunity to accept the gospel. Luke was the only one to include the stories of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan in his gospel.

Luke was also a close friend of both Mary and the other women who were involved in Jesus’ inner circle of companions and supporters. Compared to the other gospels, Luke devoted significantly more attention to women. His gospel features

   * More female characters

   * Featuring a female prophet (Luke 2:36)

   * Details about the experience of pregnancy (Luke 1:41–42)

Luke gave a prominent place to the lives of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and of Mary, the mother of Jesus in chapter 2. Luke focused on women playing important roles among Jesus' followers, such as Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary of Bethany, and Joanna and Susanna, wealthy women who supported Jesus financially out of their own means. And the Gospel of Luke is the only account which contains the Annunciation of the Birth of Jesus to Mary his mother, starting in Luke 1:26