[vc_row fullwidth="false" attached="false" padding="0" visibility="" animation=""][vc_column border_color="" visibility="" width="1/1"][vc_column_text disable_pattern="true" align="left" margin_bottom="0"]You can tell a lot about someone the first time you meet them. It's the way they look at you, or speak to you, possibly even the half-hearted way they shake your hand or brightly smile your way. Non-verbal messages speak volumes. We have an innate ability to determine who we will connect with, who might become a friend. Maybe we can't pinpoint the character trait or attribute, but something in us says: "I like this person. I could be friends with them." When I read the first five verses (Luke 1:1-5) of the book of Luke, I will be honest, I don't feel like we would be friends. Oops, did I just say that? This is supposed to be one of the "good news" accounts of the life of Jesus. What's wrong with me if I'm smirking in the opening sentence?
He opens with (in the opinion of scholars and greek experts) a beautifully written sentence to someone named "Most Excellent Theophilus." (Luke 1:3)
Most excellent? Oh man - you just lost me. I just rolled my eyes, quietly tried to close my bag of chips, awkwardly sat up in my chair, and tried to look smart. I've met people like you - heady, smart, theologically heavy, sloshing around in your words and books. I've heard others describe you as "those who hold Jesus captive in the ivory towers of academia." I may listen to you for the first 10 minutes, but eventually my eyes will droop, my collar will feel uncomfortable, I'll think about where we're going to eat after church, but you'll just keep on preaching.
In an effort not to draw any attention to myself, I will have gleaned at least one or two nuggets that will communicate that I was listening, growing, being Christian. I will walk up to you (after you finally stop talking), try to say something spiritual, throw in a point you waxed on about, then quickly duck for the exit.
I've been there, sadly, more than a few times. I'm tempted to stay jaded, to keep my neatly wrapped, defensive conclusions to myself, to judge the cover and the book, but then Jesus presses on my heart.
Read it again, Chad.
I push past my seminary answers (yuck), throw aside a hundred sermons I've heard (forgettable), ask for the Holy Spirit to help me and then… I hear Him. He's sitting with me, teaching me, loving me.
Theophilus. Just a guy disconnected from me by a few thousand years, but… a person, needing to connect with Jesus just like me. He was Luke's friend and Luke wanted to give him a gift. He wanted to write in a way that he would understand. He wanted to be the lens through which Theophilus could see and experience Jesus. Ironically, Luke had only "heard" the stories of Jesus through his friend Paul, among others. He was not an eyewitness. He needed the second and third-hand story from someone that loved him enough to tell him.
I need a Luke.
Someone who can take the eyewitness accounts, stories and events of the life of Jesus and bring them to my heart in a way that will make sense. In fact, I've had many "Lukes" over the years who have done just that. Through their passion and authenticity, these Jesus stories transformed from cold leftovers into a beautiful, juicy filet mignon.
Luke's intent in writing his Gospel was to give one guy (Theophilus) certainty. He wanted him to have assurance that what he had heard was real, that Jesus was truly who he said he was, that the cross and resurrection applied directly to his life.
Don't we need that as well? Certainty?
Let's face it, as much as we spout one-liners about the reliability (and inerrancy - that's for you, Gabe) of the Bible, there are parts that are hard to understand. It can feel so distant and complicated. You can have days when you open it and it feels like a textbook, not a personal letter.
I know... The Theology Gestapo get all huffy when they hear things like this. Armed with their Westminster Confession, they are ready to put my name on the list. And yet, the longer I have walked with Jesus, the more I realize that I desperately need Him and that mystery will stay mystery until we see Him face to face. I've quit trying to make mystery into die-hard theology - it's ugly. We can easily forget that Truth is a Person.
What is needed is an army of "Lukes" ready to write to their friends. Humble Jesus followers, eager to grab a cup of coffee (or some hot wings!) and tell the stories that were originally shared around tables and campfires.
Hence, the beauty of the church, and brothers and sisters who give us a glimpse of Jesus in the way they love and live. Your friends, co-workers, and family need you to be their eyes and ears on the ground. They need to hear it again. They need certainty. They are counting on you. If you listen closely, you can hear their voices: "Tell me again, God… that You're real. Help my unbelief."
It may be that He wants you to deliver the answer.
Will you?[/vc_column_text][mk_icon_box2 icon_type="icon" icon_size="64" icon="mk-li-paper-plane" icon_color="#02b3ff" title="Follow Chad's Blog and never miss a post." title_size="24" title_weight="inherit" title_top_padding="10" title_bottom_padding="10" align="center"]