Beloved: Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry. I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas, the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.
Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. You too be on guard against him, for he has strongly resisted our preaching.
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.2 Timothy 4:10-17
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, the last written before his execution in Rome (c. 67 AD), the apostle longed for the warm fellowship of his apostolic companions. Demas, numbered among Paul’s co-workers in his letters to the Colossians and Philemon, had abandoned the mission. Others were called away to other territories. “Luke is the only one with me,” wrote Paul with gratitude for his beloved friend and physician.
Luke accompanied Paul in his sufferings and imprisonment, and likely served as his personal physician after he was beaten, shipwrecked, and stoned. Some icons of St. Luke depict him holding the book of his Gospel in one hand and healing herbs in the other. Tradition also credits him with being the first iconographer of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Luke’s account of the Annunciation and the finding of the boy Jesus in the temple, which concludes with the intimate detail of Mary “treasuring these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51), shows him to be a dear and trusted friend not only of Paul, but of the mother and disciples of Christ Jesus.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.Proverbs 17:17 (RSV)