This latest addition to the Jesus Chronicles is a fictionalized retelling of the Gospel story of Luke the Physician, tracing his development from Stoic to believer to chronicler of the life of Jesus.
LaHaye and Jenkins (Mark’s Story: The Gospel According to Peter, 2007, etc.) have staked out some familiar and comfortable territory for themselves and their readers, who’ll find no surprises here. The authors pick up the story of Luke, or Loukon, when he’s a slave of Theophilus, an enlightened Stoic. Theophilus sees some promise in Luke and has him educated as a physician, feeling that Luke will eventually make a welcome addition to his household. Luke feels the resentment of other slaves, however, especially of the appropriately named Diabolos, who is clearly destined not to rise. At Tarsus Luke meets the charismatic Saul, the most brilliant and irascible student at the university. At the completion of Luke’s study, and with the approval of Theophilus, Luke works at a free clinic and also as a ship’s physician, and his path once again intersects with that of Saul, now Paul, whose conversion experience has a great influence on Luke. From this point the novel becomes a series of dialogues—or even Q & As—in which Luke queries Paul about his newfound faith. Paul’s responses are not just preparation for his later writing, they herald his biblical statements. In conversation with Luke, for example, Paul says, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” We obviously know where the story is headed. Shortly before Mary’s death Luke interviews the aged woman to get background for his retelling of the history of Jesus, and by the end of the book he’s finished his account of the apostles’ ministry.
LaHaye and Jenkins are literally preaching to the choir here.