The Gospel according to Luke is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.
According to the preface, the purpose of Luke is to write a historical account, while bringing out the theological significance of the history. The writer divides history into three stages:
The first ends with John the Baptist, the second consists of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the third is the life of the church after Jesus’ resurrection, written as the Acts of the Apostles.
The Gospel of Luke is written as a historical narrative. Certain popular stories, such as the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, are found only in Luke’s gospel.
This account also has a special emphasis on prayer, the activity of the Holy Spirit, women, and joyfulness. Jesus is presented as the Son of God, but attention is especially paid to the humanity of Jesus, featuring his compassion for the weak, the suffering, and the outcast.
The four gospels of the new testament taken together are referred to as the Synoptic gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke are noticeably similar in their reporting of the events in the life of Jesus, although chronological order is not strictly followed. Matthew’s gospel contains more than 90 percent of Mark’s writings, and Luke contains more than 50 percent of Mark’s gospel.
Writing was widely used in Jesus’ day, and it is reasonable to assume that written fragments and eyewitness accounts were composed concerning events in the life of Jesus and used by the Synoptic authors.
The most common view currently is that the Gospel of Mark was written first with written fragments and eyewitness accounts used later by Luke as source material. It is thought that Matthew (an apostle eyewitness) was written about the same time as Mark, with Luke being written last.