Words of Faith 2-7-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Today we will begin devotions in the Gospel of Luke. Luke is unique among his fellow Gospel writers in that he was not Jewish. He also was not an Apostle or one of the Twelve. We don't know how he came to the Lord but it was likely through the ministry of Paul. He was a physician and an historian. It is probable that he was a physician in Troas, and came to Christ after hearing Paul, to whom he attached himself. He accompanied Paul through many but not all of his journeys. Luke interviewed a number of eyewitnesses probably including Mary the mother of Jesus and several of the women who followed Jesus. He assembled a significant amount of historical material about the life and teaching of Jesus that was not recorded by any other Gospel writer. He also gives us the only written history of the early church in his companion volume, the Acts of the Apostles. JDH
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Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,  just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Do you remember the first picture of Jesus that was ever a part of your memory? One of my earliest life memories is that of attending the church that my mother was raised in and that my grandparents had been members of for years in Springfield, Missouri. As a little boy, I didn't know the name of the church but there was a room adjacent to the Sanctuary. There were classrooms off from this large gathering room and of course a stairwell that led to a large basement that was always lots of fun for little boys. (The slippery waxed floors in the basement were great fun to slide on!) It was there, on the wall of that fellowship area each week, that I would see Jesus each week.
The picture there was large and probably one that hung in thousands of churches in the 1950s. Years later I came to know the picture as "Solomon's Head of Christ". But to me that was Jesus. He appeared to be loving and holy. He was always there. He did not talk a lot, but then neither did I. I felt sure that He loved children. I must confess that He did not seem terribly exciting or fun to me but I understood that He was God and I was greatly comforted that He was at my church. Pretty much that picture of Jesus stayed with me for a number of years.
The next picture of Jesus I recall was one from my Junior High years. This Jesus was not flat or silent. It was the age of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Godspell" and this Jesus had a bit of the counterculture revolutionary look. I must confess that I was never really entirely comfortable with this picture of Jesus, though I know that this was at least part of who Jesus really was so long ago.
It was during this time that I met Jesus personally. Not a picture, but a person. I was introduced to Jesus at a coffee house by a young preacher named Raggie Ragsdale who played the guitar. Raggie explained that Jesus wanted to know me personally and walk with me in my everyday life. Jesus would forgive me of my sins and become the very best friend I could ever have, if I would receive him as Lord and Savior. Of course I did not know what all of that meant, but I knew it was the best offer I had ever heard. This Jesus was the same, and yet very different from the picture on the wall or man in the 70s movies.
I have been getting to know Him ever since. The pictures on the wall are not nearly as important as the depth of His heart as I have grown to know and appreciate and respond to Him.
Sometimes we need a new perspective. Not a new Savior but a clearer and more focused understanding of Him. That is what Luke is about. Luke lets us know right up front that it is important to tell the story from a new perspective. Many had already written this story. There is no insult to these. Their views are precious and vital. But there was no reason that another account should not be written while eyewitnesses were still alive.
People might well have asked Luke: Why write a new book? Aren't there enough books? Luke says the answer is "no." Mark was written for Romans believers. Matthew for Jewish believers. John was written for Greek thinkers. Luke brings a different perspective. Sometimes we need a new picture of Jesus, a better and truer picture. We need to refine our understanding of Him because we have this human tendency to distort Jesus and shape Him into our own image. A new fresh look is good.
Dear Lord, give me a new perspective. Help me to know You, Jesus, as You really are. Help me follow after You in Spirit and in Truth. Guide me today as I seek to follow You. In Jesus' name.