|Luke 1:1-4||Read Online|
...I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you...so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.
—Luke 1:3-4 (HCSB)
OK, I confess, sometimes I lose my temper. Often, the setting is when I’m trying to understand what someone has supposedly “carefully communicated” in an “orderly sequence.”
I open a box full of wood pieces, screws, and other hardware that’s supposed to be a dresser drawer or a bookshelf once I’ve completed all the required steps. To me, it’s not very clear at all, and one mistake causes the whole building project to fail.
Worst of all, in the middle of construction, I can’t seem to get all the pieces to stay together. I try to keep the various corners from collapsing while attempting to figure out the next step. And when it does fall apart, I’ve been known to pronounce curses on the manufacturer and scream at an inanimate object. Not very spiritual, huh?
In these verses, Luke is trying to communicate something far more important than a finished piece of furniture. The details of Jesus’ life, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection are the central events of human history and Luke, the “beloved physician,” has undertaken the task to tell of these things.
Notice the terms Luke uses. His careful investigation includes “original eyewitnesses” who have handed the information on, so that we may “know the certainty” of what we’ve heard. The story of Jesus is witnessed by contemporaries and rooted in human history, so that even the creeds speak of him being crucified “under Pontius Pilate,” a historical figure you can read about in non-biblical sources.
Imagine someone saying to you, “The American Civil War may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” That statement would seem odd because the Civil War is an event that either happened or it didn’t, and there seems to be pretty good evidence that it occurred.
So today, in our postmodern culture, we hear people dismiss Christianity saying, “It may be true for you, but not for me.” In these times, it’s important to realize that the story of Jesus is rooted in history, and it’s not simply a philosophy of life we chose to embrace or ignore.
Notice, Luke wants to convince Theophilus (and, by extension, all his readers) that these aren’t cleverly devised fables but events that have occurred during a specific time and place in history. They include eyewitnesses who’ve paid the ultimate price of their lives, testifying to what they’ve seen and heard.
If these events occurred, and if Jesus is who He claims to be, then everything changes. Our lives find a new meaning and hope. Failure, or even death, does not have the last voice.
Luke wants Theophilus to believe Jesus is alive and that following Him is the most important thing in life. Caesar isn’t Lord, but Jesus is Lord. It’s a story worth believing because multiple eyewitnesses profess that it’s true. Do you believe this story? If so, is it a story worth sharing? Who do you know who needs to hear this story today?
- Why do you think Luke may have wanted Theophilus to know there were eyewitnesses to the events that he writes about?
- What reason does Luke give for writing down this narrative in orderly sequence (see verse 4)?
- How may Luke’s efforts to carefully investigate everything about Jesus be an example to us? What might it look like for you to follow this example?
- Luke believed this was a story worth giving his life to (because it was based on actual events) and worth sharing with others. Does Jesus mean this to you? If so, who in your life needs to hear about the hope you have in Jesus?