Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.Luke 1:1-4
Luke takes us into his confidence and discloses his approach and qualifications for the task. He writes as a contemporary about the recent past, always the most difficult history to interpret and often the most interesting. He speaks of “those matters which have been fulfilled among us,” in our time. He does not himself claim to have been an eyewitness of “those matters.” As we know already, Luke was a Gentile and apparently never saw Jesus in the flesh. He takes a position outside of the events which he is to record. He does not hide his intense interest in the narrative, but he assumes the role of detached historian. He wishes to assure Theophilus of “the certainty concerning the things about which you were instructed.” He claims to have investigated “all of the things accurately from the beginning,” just as the true historian would. He thus implies that some of the attempts made had been fragmentary at any rate, and to that extent inaccurate. He has also produced an “orderly” narrative by which Theophilus may appreciate the chronological sequencing of the events connected with the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
The fact that “many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters” does not deter Luke from his task. But rather he is stirred (“It seemed good to me also”) to give his interpretation of the life and work of Jesus as the result of his research. He stands no further away than one generation from the death of Jesus. He has the keen interest natural to a cultured follower of Jesus in the origin of what had become a great world-movement. He is able to get at the facts because he has had dialogue with eyewitnesses of Jesus and His work, “even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.” Luke had abundant opportunity during the two years at Caesarea with Paul (Acts 24 through 26) to make careful and extended investigations. Many of the personal followers of Jesus were still living (1 Cor 15:6). It was a golden opportunity for Luke’s purpose. He had also the written narratives which others had already drawn up. Luke’s contribution must therefore include the use of the oral and written material available to him. We would expect someone of Luke’s literary ability not to laboriously copy what others have done but to intelligently blend the written and oral material into a deeply significant work. That is exactly what we have in our hands when we hold the Gospel According to Luke. Therefore it requires us “to carefully investigate his account from the beginning”.
Luke iha worked from the source material: both oral and written accounts of the events that happened. His is likely to have interviewed some of the eye witnesses in order to give us a fuller and more accurate account of what happened. Then Luke orders his account of the events. Thus when you approach the Gospel of Luke you need to have your brain engaged. Be asking you deeper questions.
- Why did Luke include that?
- Why did he discard that story?
- Why did he place “that story” there and yet miss out “that one”.
Remember Luke’s is an ordered account written “so that you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught”. Make the most of it.
You are captive to any mistake from which no lesson is learned!Brian Houston
The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about!Rick Godwin
When we passionately believe in what we do & WHY we do it, then the negative words or applause of men won’t affect us much.Sidney Mohede
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.Nietzsche