Intro to Luke: Welcome Annoying Questioners!
Since, as is well known, many have undertaken to compile an orderly account of the things which have been fulfilled among us by God, exactly as they were handed down to us by those with personal experience who from the beginning of Christ’s ministry were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word that is, of the teaching concerning salvation through faith in Christ, it seemed fitting for me as well, and so I have decided, after having carefully searched out and investigated all the events accurately, from the very beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught that is, the history and doctrine of the faith. Luke 1:1-4
Every parent of a toddler has, at some point, cursed the day their precious baby learned to ask the question "why?".
If you happen to be in that stage of life right now, let me reassure you, it won't be this way forever.
Soon they will be teenagers and the questions will be less frequent but way, way, WAY worse.
When my son was in college, he took a class on how the Bible was translated. Every week, he called me excited about some new fact that he had learned and how it changed the way he thought about the Bible.
These conversations made me incredibly uncomfortable. I had already wrestled with my religious beliefs. I was questioned a lot in college. I had a lot of doubts in my past. I made mistakes. Now I was in a good, comfortable place. My kids were doing well, we all believed in God and I was quite content.
I did not want to study how the Bible was put together. It made me uncomfortable. Deep down, I liked believing that God just kind of handed it out of the sky. But, I knew that wasn’t the case.
It's just that the way the Bible was put together made me really uncomfortable and I didn’t like to think about it! This was one of those troubling issues that I answered for myself with “Well. I just have to trust that God worked through the people that made the decisions to canonize scripture.”
I love being a Christian. I love the Bible. Jesus is awesome and every good thing in my life is because of him. I was scared of these questions.
Turns out, that kind of “I will just trust” thinking about scary questions, isn’t really faith. It’s more cultish and less trusty than I wanted to admit
And when I pursued the answers, my faith was deepened. The “hand from the sky” theology felt nice, but the way God chooses to use people flaws and all to carry out his work on earth is AWESOME!!!! (And scary!)
I believe that my man Theophilus may have felt similarly to me way back in the day.
In Luke’s introduction to his book, he says “a whole bunch of eyewitnesses have shared their accounts and you’ve heard a bunch of stories about Jesus. Since I’ve spent a lot of time looking into this and carefully studying the accounts of Jesus, I decided to put together this organized document for you so that you would know what’s really true about all that you have been taught.”
We don’t know a lot about Theophilus. He was obviously an important person with power, wealth and influence. Luke and Theophilus were both well educated in Greek culture and philosophy. Theophilus was apparently a patron of Luke’s and would have provided the means to share his writings after he received them.
So, unlike the other Gospels, which were written for Jewish audiences, Luke was written for Gentiles.
It seems that in his introduction, Luke may have been hinting that Theophilus also struggled with the uncomfortable uncertainty of liking Jesus and his teachings but questioning if it were really all true.
Luke states in his purpose that he was writing so Theophilus “may know the exact truth about the things” he “had been taught”. (1:4)
This may be my new favorite Gospel!!!
So, if you are a fellow annoying questioner, a doubter, a wonderer, an "I wish it were true"-er, then LUKE IS THE BOOK for you!
I can't wait to see what we learn as we ask annoying questions about this book!