Luke 1:1-4: ‘That You May Have Certainty’
Imagine with me what the experience and the questions of Theophilus would have been: you are probably a God fearer who has only recently converted to Christianity, that is someone who was attached to the Jewish synagogue who believed in the God of the OT but was never circumcised. You are also a man of position and wealth. You accepted that Jesus was the one who was promised in the OT, but now some issues have arisen. Those people at the synagogue you used to attend have rejected Jesus as their Messiah. In fact they are on a campaign to oust any associated with Christianity out of the synagogue. You thought that becoming a Christian meant you did not have to become a Jew by circumcision when you became a Christian but the teachers of the synagogue say that one still has to be circumcised and convert to Judaism and become Jewish to be a true follower of God. They insist that Jesus is not the one promised in the OT. It is the early 60s and even the Roman Government is persecuting the new Christian movement and putting people in prison and even putting them to death. You have major doubts and questions. Here are some of the questions you may ask: ‘Is Christianity what I believed it to be, the conclusion to the OT?’ ‘Why have the Jews, the Messiah’s own people rejected Him; how can the majority of the Jews be wrong?’ ‘Why are the Gentiles included and the Jews excluded?’ ‘The OT made promises about the Messiah coming to rule but I have only seen the prophecies about His suffering come to pass, when will the rest be fulfilled?’ You can imagine how easy it would be to be uncertain as a Gentile convert in the midst of this sort of atmosphere. Luke tells us in his prologue that he is writing to Theophilus to assure him of the things he has heard, 1:1-4, ‘Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.’
Doubts about Christ in a world hostile to Christ is a common problem that we all face, for this reason the gospel of Luke is an incredible helpful book for all of us. It is a gospel that answers Theophilus’ questions and more.
November 22, 2020
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