16/03/17 - Pastor Young
Inasmuch as many have taken it upon themselves to put together an account of the Good News of Jesus Christ, it is our pleasure here at Suburban Baptist Church to deliver to you an orderly account from Luke, that you may know the truth!
This week we embarked on a journey that will take us into the latter half of the year: a journey into "The Gospel of Jesus According to Luke". You may ask: what do we know about this Luke who is going to guide us? What will we see along the way on this long journey? What if we get lost?
Rest assured: as we gain some insight into who Luke is, and what his purpose was in writing, you will find that you have a most excellent guide!
From what we can tell, Luke is a Gentile physician, an early coworker of the apostle Paul, but not a part of the circle of the twelve disciples that originally witnessed Jesus. Having been a coworker in the gospel with Paul however, he is captivated by Jesus, and seeks to write "an orderly account" for Theophilus.
It's important to note here that this book was not written just for Theophilus; no book of the Bible is just for one person. This journey is for all of us.
Luke's purpose in writing is in order to show that the statements that other accounts about Jesus make are trustworthy, and he consults many eyewitnesses to do this. In undertaking such a task, and no doubt in his work with Paul among the Gentiles, he would note several degrees of tension that arise from Christian faith.
Certainly there is tension in a Gentile coming into an originally Jewish movement. Luke himself may have experienced this firsthand, in his own faith and in the interactions he shared with other Gentiles. On the other side of the same coin, there would be tension felt by Jews who noticed that their brethren lacked a response to the gospel. A third level of tension would be in those who experienced this faith secondhand (and perhaps this is the type of tension we most identify with, and will see on this journey): those who were not original eyewitnesses to Jesus, but have heard the gospel and believed.
Luke writes to resolve this tension by validating the eyewitness accounts, exhibiting the fulfillment of promises by God through Jesus, and by praising God repeatedly and extravagantly. Despite not seeing Jesus in the flesh (like us), Luke is convinced of the fact that the witnesses he encounters are reliable, and many. He is a secondhand witness to Jesus in the flesh, but a firsthand witness to the inspiration of God through those that present the gospel to him -- just as we are.
Throughout this series, we hope and pray that you encounter firsthand the good news of Jesus Christ according to Luke in a fresh and exciting way. We endeavour to look closely at what it means to have been lost, but now found in Jesus; may it be that you find yourself in Him with us.
Luke includes several songs of praise to God in the opening chapters. This week, we heard Pastor Tim tell us about Mary's song of praise of God and His plan in exalting and using the humble; His reaching to all generations with his mercy, grace and faithfulness; and His plan being completely upside-down to human thinking. It is telling that Luke opens with such a song, in which Mary's intention is to have her soul magnify the Lord.
This surely is Luke's desire also, in writing this detailed account to Theophilus, and to us. This is our desire -- to have our souls magnify the Lord.
We are excited to walk this journey with you, and to get lost and found in Christ.
Yours in Christ,