On the road
Luke’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry
“.. so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught …” [Luke 1.4]
Luke’s account of the life and ministry of Jesus is the most thorough (and the longest) of the four gospel records. It was written for a man called Theophilus (that may well not have been his actual name, but a ‘cover’ to protect his identity), who was almost certainly an eminent Roman citizen. His account, therefore, was written for a primarily ‘Gentile’ context and does not presume any great knowledge of the Bible.
Luke is up front about his intention: it’s to help this man have the confidence to trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. It could be a costly thing being a follower of Jesus back then (as in many places to this day), and Luke wanted to bolster the embryonic faith of this man in the face of both the hostility he was likely to face and the adversity which almost certainly would be his experience.
Three good reasons why it’s worth our while taking a read of his account of the life and ministry of Jesus are given by Luke in the brief introduction with which the book begins (Lk.1.1-4).
First, he underlines how careful he has been in researching this remarkable and important message: whenever we’re able to double check what he says, he is found to be 100% reliable and accurate.
Then, too, he explains how comprehensive his account is as well. He investigated all his ‘sources’ (other accounts, Bible prophecies, eye-witness accounts, and respected preachers), and he investigated the story ‘from the beginning’. He’s nothing if not thorough!
Moreover, he has taken care to ensure that his account is as clear as possible. It’s what he himself called ‘an orderly account’ – not random reflections and recollections hastily thrown together.
May this study of Luke’s gospel help us all “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”, to the end that we “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (see Heb.12.1-2)