Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Luke 1:1-4


1. That there were already many voices talking about Jesus didn't keep Luke from investing a great deal of effort into adding his own informed voice to the conversation. Though Theophilus had been taught, Luke sets out to retrace some of the same information again. Fresh attempts and repetition can be good, especially when it comes to the task of growing true faith.

2. Luke speaks neither good or ill of any previous attempts to convey the story of Christian faith. He simply tells the story as he sees it from his own careful inquiry - a rather refreshing approach given that it isn't the norm in human discussion of matters around which controversy swirls.

3. Luke didn't just buy into whatever was commonly spoken of regarding Jesus and Christian faith. Nor did he just add to a pool of ignorance when he spoke. He deemed it important to "carefully investigate everything."

4. Luke's first description of the things that have transpired among Christians is that they were things that had been "fulfilled" (TNIV). Christian history is not just a sequence of accidents or simply the sum of human choices, but is something in which the divine is also involved. Luke believes human history is something in which God participates.

5. Two types of evidence are impressive to Luke - "eyewitnesses and servants of the word" - and they are found in one and the same people. Luke appears to ask two questions of Christian faith: (1) Is it based on solid testimony, not hearsay? and (2) Does it change people's lives so that they conform their lives to its teachings? That is, "Was it done?" and "Is it doable?" Christian faith, if anything, must be historical and practical, or it is nothing at all.

6. There is a distinct emphasis on the mind and rational thinking here when it comes to thinking/talking/living out the Christian faith. There's nothing mysterious or better-felt-than-told at all about Luke's understanding of what makes up the gospel - or even how he composed his Gospel. Everything is out-in-the-open for Theophilus - someone who is anything but a seasoned Christian, whether he be someone yet-to-believe or a babe in Christ.

7. Luke obviously wouldn't be satisfied with a "whatever" approach to Christian faith. He is on a personal quest - and wants Theophilus to be on one, too - for "truth" and "certainty." Some things are right and some things are not about faith in Christ and it's important to know the difference.

8. Whatever view you take of the inspiration of Scripture, your view must take into full account normal, human effort as Luke exemplifies here (i.e. - investigative research, interviews of witnesses, etc.). Inspiration was neither a mere mechanical or just magically mysterious thing.

9. Deep spirituality and grounding in the greatest matters of Christian faith does not give license for any disrespect or slight to those who are yet to arrive there. Luke speaks of Theophilus - someone less spiritually mature or "ripe" with great deference and honor (i.e. - "Most Excellent Theophilus"). Certainty and maturity express themselves in genuine humility and sincere deference or they express themselves not at all.

10. People need to be "taught" the things of God. Christian faith isn't caught, but taught. How great then the responsibility of all would teach it and for all who would be taught it!