Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:1-4 ESV
Dear Christian Sisters,
One of the reasons that I love the books of Luke and Acts is that I imagine that Luke (who wrote both books) was an investigative reporter.
Dr. Luke, Investigative Reporter
Luke is a doctor whom Paul likely sought out for his eye problems. (Why do I think Paul had problems with his eyes? I’ll tell you—after you finish reading this introduction to the book of Luke!)
Paul likely shared the gospel with Luke, since he shared the gospel with everyone he met. Luke then began traveling with Paul, taking care of him, and recording everything that happened.
You can tell that Luke entered the story at Acts 16:9 because he switches from 3rd person in verse 8 to 1st person in verse 10. (Read Acts 16:8-10 for yourself. Note “they” in verse 8 and “we” in verse 10.)
Although Luke wasn’t an eyewitness to Jesus life, we know from Luke 1:1-4 (quoted above) that he interviewed eyewitnesses and wrote down their stories.
The Christmas Story in Matthew
The story of Jesus’ birth is told in two of the gospels: Matthew and Luke. The story as told in the book of Matthew is pretty short and seems to be told from the perspective of Joseph. How did Matthew hear the story? Good question!
We don’t read anything about Joseph after Jesus was 12 years old, so Matthew probably did not have the opportunity to ask Joseph. However, given that Matthew lived near Nazareth, he likely knew the rumors.
My guess is that he asked Jesus, Mary, and Mary’s other children to confirm the rumors. (BTW, I have not researched this question. This is my own guess as to how Matthew found out the details of Jesus’ birth.)
The Christmas Story in Luke
The Christmas story as told in the book of Luke is longer and seems to be told from the perspective of Mary. [Women tell longer, more detailed stories, don’t they? :-)] I imagine that Luke met Mary, mother of Jesus, while traveling with Paul, interviewed her, and then wrote her story in what we call chapters 1 and 2.
So, I like to think of the birth of Jesus as recorded in Luke as Mary’s story.
I find Mary to be very brave, certainly more brave than me. Join me daily for insights into the Christmas story and Mary’s bravery as we read the scriptures together.
Evidence that Paul Had Eye Problems
Are you still curious about Paul’s eyes? Well, here are verses that support the idea that Paul had eye problems.
The Road to Damascus
At Paul’s conversion, famously referred to as “The Road to Damascus” because he was traveling to the city of Damascus when it happened, Paul was struck blind in his encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:8). He was blind for 3 days and then something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see (Acts 9:9, 17-18).
Paul Writes to the Galatians
At the end of his letter to the Galatians, Paul says, “See what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand” (Galatians 6:11). This is one of the few letters that he penned himself rather than dictating to someone else who served as his secretary. Presumably, he wrote large letters so that he could see what he was writing.
Earlier in Galatians, Pauls says that the Galatians did not despise or loathe his bodily condition (Galatians 4:14), which indicates that his physical challenge was easily visible, so perhaps his eyes did not look normal.
I Have Eye Problems, Too!
Ha! I can relate to that! I was born with my left eye closed. I’ve had four surgeries to open it up. As a result, it doesn’t like to close. My right eye acts normally. The result? I wink at everyone!
God works everything out for good, though. Russ thought I was flirting with him and asked me out on a date!
Paul Can’t See the High Priest
One final thought on Paul having had eye problems. In Acts 23, Paul is defending himself against the Jewish council and speaks harshly to the high priest (Acts 23:1-5), whom he should have recognized since the high priest gave him letters to take to Damascus (Acts 9:2).
But all of my conjecture about Paul’s eyesight is just interesting trivia to spark conversation while enjoying your coffee.
I look forward to you joining me again as we continue to read the Christmas story in the gospels of Luke and Matthew while gleaning insights into just how brave Mary was.