Today’s message summary of January 21, 2018 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
The message today covers Luke 1:1-4.
Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us.
Luke’s book is written specifically to Gentile Christians specifically to inform them that Jesus is the Messiah for the Gentiles as well as that of the Jews. Theophilus, to who this letter was written to, was a Gentile.
It was an account that shows the life of Jesus, but there were even those who did not know of Him even after His death and resurrection.
Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus himself came near and began to walk along with them. But they were prevented from recognizing him. Then he asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.
The one named Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked them.
So they said to him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him.
We don’t know the names of the many authors that give an account here, but Luke is a summary of the compiled works of the authors. Let’s be clear that this book and the other gospels are divinely inspired and are inerrant. Luke pulled together these accounts of the others and provides the very words of God that were written down by man. This was all done with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Luke was guided by the Spirit to make corrections where necessary to provide an accurate account of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Presumably speaking, if Luke’s account was the only account that we have to refer to, we should be satisfied in that the words of Luke are “God-breathed.”
Luke was not one of the twelve disciples, so some may wonder how he was able to provide this account. We do know that Jesus had more than just the twelve disciples. Some were men, and some were women. Luke was a disciple and companion of Paul, as well. We know this from the book of Acts. Luke speaks of his accounts as a traveling companion of Paul.
Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling.
We don’t know much else about Luke. We know he was a physician. He could have received much of his information from Mark, who wrote his own book, of course, as part of the synoptic gospels.
Luke most likely received his information about Jesus from oral traditions–which is simply word of mouth. First century people had limited ways of sharing information compared to today. The intent of story-telling, for example, may leave out some details, but the overall message doesn’t change. Luke was very detailed in his communication, and he likely received many of his words from word of mouth.
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if every one of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.
It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus.
Luke’s gospel takes up a full third of the New Testament. He presents more detail than some of the other gospels. We need to know that he is a historian and a theologian. His primary reason for presenting the information from firsthand eye witnesses is for clarity and as a matter of history. They are accounts from people, especially the apostles, who were Jesus’s witnesses. Mark’s gospel was written about thirty years after Jesus Christ. Mark and John wrote their books about forty years afterward. John can say what he does in John 1:2:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.
The apostles’ teaching are why we do what we do as a church. The teachings are coming directly through them because of their presence with Jesus Christ.
If you don’t accept the writings of Scripture as true, then you will fall for any other gospel that is written. There are many false gospels, and they have been around even since the time of Jesus. It is important for each of us to ascertain what we read in the Scriptures. We are to seek the Lord for wisdom and guidance as we read. Luke knew what he was doing.
It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.
He wanted to give an accurate account in order to give us what we needed to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Theophilus was likely a Roman with high stature. We don’t know too much about him except through speculation, but we do know that Theophilus’s name means “friend of God” or “lover of God.” Perhaps, as a believer, he was interested in the matters of Christ and who he was, and Luke provided the books (via letters) of Luke and Acts for him.
For ourselves, we have the completed word of God. We can pick up the Word and read it daily. We too, can be like Theophilus, as true lovers of God that seek Him out on a daily basis.
We are exposed to the truth, and we know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a sure thing. Amen.