1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
There were a few readers who asked that our next undertaking be the book of Luke – so here we go! Luke is brilliant in so many ways and is always a worthy read for one’s daily devotions. In his prologue (verses 1-4), Luke lays out very specifically why he put pen to parchment in the first place – “to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us.” Luke seeks to be informative and instructive. He accomplishes both of those goals with the brilliance of someone who is doing what God has chosen for them to do.
The personal information about Luke is fairly scant. We know from Colossians 4:14 that he is by training and trade a physician (Luke the beloved physician greets you . . .”) and he is listed among those who are Greek by birth, rather than Hebrew. That fact alone sets him apart, as he is the only writer in the entire Bible who is not Jewish. Exactly when or by whose witness he came to faith is not shared with us in the text. We do know from the writings of Paul that Luke accompanied him on many of his missionary journeys. Luke admits he’s not the first to tell the story of Jesus. He is fully aware that his work follows in the tradition of others who have told the remarkable story of Jesus.
Luke’s gospel is a narrative of Jesus’ journey from heaven to earth and back to heaven. Jesus descends from heaven to become one of us, to live among us as teacher and miracle worker and rejected Prophet, to die our death on a cross, to be buried in the earth, to rise from the dead on the third day, and to ascend back to heaven on the fortieth day. This movement from heaven to earth to heaven is described by the evangelist in several places, particularly at the transfiguration, where the “exodus” Jesus is about to fulfill in Jerusalem is his death, resurrection, and ascension.
Just, A. A., Jr. ©1996. Luke 1:1–9:50 (p. 21). St. Louis, MO: CPH.
Just as Luke’s other work, the Book of Acts, this Gospel is addressed to Theophilus whose name means “lover of God”. It is unclear as to whether this was a real person or simply an address to all who would know more about the God that they love. I think it is highly likely that it was both. So if that is the case then this book is address to us and we should read it as the personal instruction that it is. Who among us doesn’t need to know more about our Savior? Luke provides a detailed and precise telling of Jesus’ story. Most of the stories are well worn and ones that we may already know. So much the better as we spend time going deeper with these details of Jesus’ life.