40 Days in Luke is a blog project of the Harvard Ichthus, a student journal of Christian thought and expression. Our blog will host reflections, commentary, and exegesis of the twenty-four chapters of the Gospel of Luke, one of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Last year, we spent 40 days in Mark, during which we proudly featured over 50 posts from a large cadre of talented writers, including students, professors, alumni, and ministers. Topics ranged from the role of the apostles, to the active faith of the blind Bartimaeus, to fitting prayer into a busy schedule. This year, we aim to do the same with Luke. All posts will be united by a single goal: to better understand who Jesus was and what that means for us today.

Why 40 Days?

The “40 Days” of the project are the 40 Days of Lent. Lent is a Christian holy season, spanning late winter and early spring every year. It begins with Ash Wednesday (February 10 this year) and concludes with Holy Saturday (March 26). The first day after Lent is Easter Sunday, the day on which Christians celebrate the central moment in Christianity: Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

For those who are interested in learning more about Christians and Christianity, Lent is the perfect time to dive in. That’s why we’re doing this project now. As the spirit of anticipation of Jesus’s death and resurrection builds, it’s hard not to become interested in the person and the story at the center of it all.

Why Luke?

One of the best ways to learn about Christianity is to read one of the four gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, each of which describe the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. While each gospel has its own structure and advantages, Luke has several features that make it exciting for study and reflection.

The Gospel of Luke offers a unique perspective on Jesus’s life, as it is written from the vantage point of a historian. The author Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts for the purpose of compiling “an orderly account” of the events surrounding the beginnings of Christianity (Luke 1:3). Thus Luke provides the most exhaustive account of the historical life of Christ: it contains more unique parables than any of the other gospels, is the only gospel to speak of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the parents of John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zacharias, and is one of only two gospels which offer a genealogy of Jesus (the other is Matthew).

It is no wonder, then, that Luke is the longest of all of the gospels, containing sixteen of Jesus’s miracles and twenty-four of his parables. Together with the book of Acts, this makes the writings of Luke comprise more than a quarter of the New Testament, more than any other New Testament author (even Paul). This fact alone warrants a careful investigation into what Luke has to say.

Is It True?

Much could be said about the historical accuracy of the Gospel of Luke. Though we will not herein try to prove the historicity of the account, for a starting point to that discussion we invite you to check out Jordan Monge’s He Is Risen: A Defense of the Historicity of the Resurrection, published in the Ichthus in Spring 2011.

Through the narrative of Luke, the mission and identity of Jesus will slowly be revealed. In 40 Days in Luke, we will be exploring and grappling with these movements. With each post, we will share links to the relevant Bible passages we discuss. We hope you join us in contemplation and reflection as we trace the lines of Jesus’s ministry during this season of Lent.