Most scholars agree that Luke’s gospel and the book of Acts were written by Luke who is an interesting character. Truthfully, we don’t a whole lot about him personally. We don’t know where he was born or how he died. We have hints to where he was born and how he and Paul became friends and coworkers in Acts 13:1. In that passage we see Lucian of Cyrene as one of the prophets and teachers at Antioch. I believe this is Luke which would mean that that they meet at Antioch before Paul and Barnabas left on their first missionary journey. If this is Luke it means that he was a Gentile like Timothy. He was important to Paul because he was a physician who Paul calls “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14).
At some point during the second missionary journey Luke joins Paul. We know this because of the “we” passages found from this point forward (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). His work was different from Timothy or Mark because he is not listed in the list of his fellow workers in Colossians 4:14 but is listed in Philemon 23-24. I believe, my thoughts only, this is because Luke began his work with Paul as a doctor but eventually the relationship changed. We also know that near the end of Paul’s life, he was the only disciple who was still with Paul (2 Tim. 4:11) and was likely in prison with him.
The theme of the gospel of Luke is redemption and its beautifully expressed in Luke 2:29-32.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (ESV)
An important part of Luke’s gospel is the Holy Spirit. He is in into every aspect Jesus’ life and ministry. This emphasizes how important He was to Jesus and His work. He is conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); descended on Him at His baptism (Luke 3:22); was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:2) and anointed by the Spirit for His ministry (Luke 4:18). The Holy Spirit is leading, guiding, and empowering Jesus for his work. I believe He is present even when He is not mentioned.
Lastly, don’t miss the way Luke emphasizes joy and happiness when the Jesus is present. The angels announced Jesus’ birth with the words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14, ESV). Then, near the end of Luke, we see Jesus approaching Jerusalem and the people are praising God singing and “saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38, ESV). Luke’s wonderful gospel always points us toward Jesus.