Archive for January 15th, 2007

For You, Theophilus

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Luke 1:1-4 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

Traditionally, these words are said to have been written by Luke, the beloved physician mentioned in Colossians 4:14. However, we will never know the actual identity of the author, because his name has been lost to history. He never mentions his own name in the text itself, only that he is writing “for you, most excellent Theophilus.”

Most Christians, of course, view all the Gospels as part of the Word of God – Holy Scripture. Odd as it may seem, this fact used to distance me from the texts of the Gospels. I felt like I needed to approach them with special reverence, like a priest entering the Holy of Holies. I took them too seriously to take them seriously.

Then, one day, as I read the first few sentences of the Gospel of Luke, I really listened to what this author was saying: “I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you.”

This wasn’t someone setting out to write Scripture, like a prophet channeling God. He was an early follower of Jesus, who had tried to discern what actually happened when Jesus was walking the earth, and then had written down what he’d learned. He was writing a history, as best he could, having “investigated everything carefully.” He was also attempting to tell “the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”

With this in mind, I reread the Gospel of Luke as a history. Like Theophilus — which means “lover of God” — I was someone who wanted to be a disciple of Jesus, and this was a careful accounting of what Jesus said and did. Instead of approaching the text with reverence and awe, I approached it with interest and curiosity. How did Jesus live? What did Jesus say? How might his teaching apply to me?

The result was a complete reorientation of my life. For me, it was the beginning of being able to finally say, “Jesus is lord of my life,” and mean it.

Thought for the day: Are you a lover of God? Then Luke was written for you, “so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.” This is a careful history written so you, Theophilus, might know Jesus better.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: the continuing violence and war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all of the middle east. Remember Heather and Dillan, two Jesus MCC members who are in Iraq on active duty.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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