I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all tell the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The Book of Acts tells what happened next. It was originally a letter to a man named Theophilus. Luke, who also wrote the Gospel of Luke, wrote the Book of Acts as well. It is important from an interpretive standpoint to remember that, unlike John who wrote the Gospel we just concluded in this devotional, Luke did not walk firsthand with Jesus. This Theophilus was a most fortunate man. Not only did Luke write this historical account for Theophilus, but the Gospel of Luke was originally a letter to Theophilus as well! Luke’s Gospel opens:
“Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.”
Can you imagine Theophilus standing in judgment before God, making excuses as to why he never had the opportunity to understand the gospel? This may be the most culpable man ever…but then again we have all received the exact same texts as Theophilus. They are just as the physician/scientist Luke describes them: carefully investigated, orderly, and sequential. Richard Dawkins plans to ask God, “Why did you take such great pains to hide yourself?” Because Richard Dawkins has read the Bible, he is just as culpable as Theophilus himself. Luke is about to take us on a thoroughly investigated narrative journey through the seldom studied 40 days following the resurrection and we are all held responsible before it.
Who is your own Theophilus for whom you might provide this thorough narrative?
Pray: Pray for your skeptical friends, that they would encounter Christ through His Word and be changed.