Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Luke 1: Dear Theophilus...

Luke and its companion Acts are written to "Theophilus," literally "lover of God."  Whether or not Theophilus was an actual individual or a generic term for Luke's audience, it is hopefully an apt description of you!

Many people wonder - which among the four Gospels came first?  Luke doesn't seem interested in contending for the pole position of "first!"  Rather, his is an account that has been drawn up after other resources have already been distributed.  In addition, Luke has gone to the time and trouble of researching everything and checking the sources, so his Gospel ought to be viewed as a thorough investigation of the life of Jesus.

Where to begin the story?  John began his Gospel in the eternal depths of the "beginning."  Luke prepares a foundation with an account of John the Baptist who, after all, plays a role described in scripture as "preparing the way for the Lord."

We hear of two miraculous conceptions in Luke 1 - one more miraculous than the other, however.  In the case of Zechariah and Elizabeth, an elderly couple is able to conceive and bear a child.  This requires the intervention of God, but we have seen it before with Abraham and Sarah, as well as with Elkanah and Hannah.

But in Mary's case, God is doing something completely unheard-of: A virgin birth!  Certainly this lays the groundwork for incredible things to come.

Enjoy the Gospel of Luke, most excellent "Theophilus!"

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