Why Did Jesus Come To Earth? – Lee Strobel and When Was the Gospel of Luke Written?

via www.Biblegateway.com and www.leestrobel.com

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Why Did Jesus Come To Earth? – Lee Strobel, posted with vodpod

Q. In one of your videos at www.LeeStrobel.com, you mentioned the gospel of Luke. When was Luke written? I thought it was at the end of the first century.

A. You’ve brought up my favorite gospel – Luke’s account of the birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus. I especially appreciate Luke because he was like a first-century investigative reporter. A physician and close associate of the apostle Paul, Luke stresses in the introduction to his gospel how he “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” in order to write “an orderly account” about “the certainty” of what took place.

When was Luke written? According to New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary, the standard scholarly dating, even in very liberal circles, is Mark in the 70s, Matthew and Luke in the 80s, and John in the 90s. “That’s still within the lifetimes of various eyewitnesses of the life of Jesus, including hostile eyewitnesses who would have served as a corrective if false teachings about Jesus were going around,” he pointed out in my interview with him for The Case for Christ.

However, Blomberg said there’s evidence Luke was written much earlier than that. “We can support that by looking at the book of Acts, which was written by Luke. Acts ends apparently unfinished – Paul is a central figure of the book, and he’s under house arrest in Rome. With that the book abruptly halts. What happens to Paul? We don’t find out from Acts, probably because the book was written before Paul was put to death.

“That means Acts cannot be dated any later than A.D. 62. Having established that, we can move backward from there. Since Acts is the second of a two-part work, we know the first part – the gospel of Luke – must have been written earlier than that.” Keep in mind that Jesus was put to death in A.D. 30 or 33.

In his classic book Scaling the Secular City, leading apologist J. P. Moreland of Talbot Seminary offers half a dozen arguments that combine to make a strong case that Acts was written around A.D. 62 to 64 (and thus Luke’s gospel slightly before that). These include:

• Acts doesn’t mention the fall of Jerusalem in 70, “and this is quite odd since much of the activity recorded in Luke-Acts centers around Jerusalem…. The omission of any mention of the fall of Jerusalem makes sense if Luke-Acts was written prior to the event itself.”

• There’s no mention in Acts about Nero’s persecutions in the mid-60s.

• Acts doesn’t refer to the martyrdoms of James (61), Paul (64) and Peter (65). “This is also surprising,” said Moreland, “since Acts is quick to record the deaths of Stephen and James the brother of John, leaders in the early church. These omissions are even more surprising when one realizes that James, Peter and Paul are the three key figures in Acts.”

• Acts deals with subjects that were important prior to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

• Acts uses several expressions that are very early and primitive. The phrases the Son of man, the Servant of God, the first day of the week (regarding the resurrection) and the people (referring to the Jews) would not need to be explained to readers prior to 70. After that, they would need an explanation.

• Acts also doesn’t mentioned the Jewish war against the Romans, which started in 66.

Taken together, these points make a strong case for an early dating of Luke. Mark dates back even earlier, given that Luke used it as one of his sources. Paul’s writings generally predate Mark – and have embedded in them even earlier creeds and hymns of the first Christians that “consistently present a portrait of a miraculous and divine Jesus who rose from the dead,” said Moreland.

Thanks for bringing up Luke’s gospel at this time of year, since it contains such a detailed and moving account of Jesus’ birth.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 8-12)


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