Many have taken in hand - Great and remarkable characters have always many biographers. So it appears it was with our Lord: but as most of these accounts were inaccurate, recording as facts things which had not happened; and through ignorance or design mistaking others, especially in the place where St. Luke wrote; it seemed good to the Holy Spirit to inspire this holy man with the most correct knowledge of the whole history of our Lord's birth, preaching, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, that the sincere, upright followers of God might have a sure foundation, on which they might safely build their faith. See the note on Luke 9:10.
Most surely believed among us - Facts confirmed by the fullest evidence - των πεπληροφορημενων πραγματων . Every thing that had been done or said by Jesus Christ was so public, so plain, and so accredited by thousands of witnesses, who could have had no interest in supporting an imposture, as to carry the fullest conviction, to the hearts of those who heard and saw him, of the divinity of his doctrine, and the truth of his miracles.
Forasmuch as many - It has been doubted who are referred to here by the word “many.” It seems clear that it could not be the other evangelists, for the gospel by “John” was not yet written, and the word “many” denotes clearly more than “two.” Besides, it is said that they undertook to record what the “eye-witnesses” had delivered to them, so that the writers did not pretend to be eye-witnesses themselves. It is clear, therefore, that other writings are meant than the gospels which we now have, but what they were is a matter of conjecture. What are now known as spurious gospels were written long after Luke wrote his. It is probable that Luke refers to “fragments” of history, or to narratives of “detached” sayings, acts, or parables of our Lord, which had been made and circulated among the disciples and others. His doctrines were original, bold, pure, and authoritative. His miracles had been extraordinary, clear, and awful. His life and death had been peculiar; and it is not improbable - indeed it is highly probable that such broken accounts and narratives of detached facts would be preserved. That this is what Luke means appears farther from Luke 1:3, where “he” professes to give a regular, full, and systematic account from the very beginning - “having had perfect understanding of “all things from the very first.” The records of the others - the “many” - were broken and incomplete. His were to be regular and full.
Taken in hand - Undertaken, attempted.
To set forth in order - To compose a narrative. It does not refer to the “order” or “arrangement,” but means simply to give a narrative. The word rendered here “in order” is different from that in the third verse, which “has” reference “to order,” or to a full and fair “arrangement” of the principal facts, etc., in the history of our Lord.
A declaration - A narrative - an account of.
Which are most surely believed among us - Among Christians - among all the Christians then living. Here we may remark:
1.That Christians of that day had the best of all opportunities for knowing whether those things were true. Many had seen them, and all others had had the account from those who had witnessed them.
2.That infidels now cannot “possibly” be as good judges in the matter as those who lived at the time, and who were thus competent to determine whether these things were true or false.
3.That all Christians do “most surely believe” the truth of the gospel. It is their life, their hope, their all. Nor can they doubt that their Saviour lived, bled, died, rose, and still lives; that he was their atoning sacrifice, and that he is God over all, blessed forever.
Luke, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, was a medical missionary. In the Scriptures he is called “the beloved physician.” Colossians 4:14. The apostle Paul heard of his skill as a physician, and sought him out as one to whom the Lord had entrusted a special work. He secured his co-operation, and for some time Luke accompanied him in his travels from place to place. After a time, Paul left Luke at Philippi, in Macedonia. Here he continued to labor for several years, both as a physician and as a teacher of the gospel. In his work as a physician he ministered to the sick, and then prayed for the healing power of God to rest upon the afflicted ones. Thus the way was opened for the gospel message. Luke's success as a physician gained for him many opportunities for preaching Christ among the heathen. It is the divine plan that we shall work as the disciples worked. Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated. MH 140.1
The work of the disciples was to spread a knowledge of the gospel. To them was committed the work of proclaiming to all the world the good news that Christ brought to men. That work they accomplished for the people of their time. To every nation under heaven the gospel was carried in a single generation. MH 141.1Read in context »
Book of Acts, Instruction for Today—The whole of the book of Acts should receive careful study. It is full of precious instruction; it records experiences in evangelistic work, the teachings of which we need in our work today. This is wonderful history; it deals with the highest education, which the students in our schools are to receive (Letter 100, 1909). 6BC 1051.1Read in context »
On the sickbed Christ is often accepted and confessed; and this will be done oftener in the future than it has been in the past, for a quick work will the Lord do in our world. Words of wisdom are to be on the lips of the physician, and Christ will water the seed sown, causing it to bring forth fruit unto eternal life. 6T 233.1
We lose the most precious opportunities by neglecting to speak a word in season. Too often a precious talent that ought to produce a thousandfold is left unused. If the golden privilege is not watched for, it will pass. Something was allowed to prevent the physician from doing his appointed work as a minister of righteousness. 6T 233.2
There are none too many godly physicians to minister in their profession. There is much work to be done, and ministers and doctors are to work in perfect union. Luke, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, is called “the beloved physician,” and those who do a work similar to that which he did are living out the gospel. 6T 233.3Read in context »