November 5, 2010
Trusting in God's Word
by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor
"Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus." luke 1:1-3
Politics. I think we all feel like we've overdosed on them lately. Don't get me wrong - they're important. But they have a way of churning up all sorts of negative emotions, fears of the future, and overall distrust of our fellow man.
One of the things I dislike most about politics is that when politicians open their mouths, they often give us a spin on the truth. Most of us who care about particular issues end up immersed in hours of research trying to uncover the unbiased facts.
Thankfully, God and His Word do not operate on the same level as our political system.
I found some unexpected relief recently when I decided to do a little research on the life of St. Luke. The opening verses above are the first words recorded in Luke's gospel account. They are reasonable, straightforward words that show Luke approached his writing as a historian investigating and recording the facts.
A skeptic might respond, "Well of course an early disciple of Christ would say he is recording only facts. But how can we be sure?" Skeptics and believers alike might be interested in knowing that Luke's writings are so consistent and accurate, even secular, modern historians hold great respect for them.
So who was St. Luke? Well, historians generally agree that he is the author of the third gospel account and the Acts of the Apostles. His writings give us a glimpse into Christ's life and a vital record of the workings of the early Church. Biblical scholars aren't sure if Luke was Jewish or a gentile, but his gospel account certainly shows a special sensitivity to the gentiles, the poor, and sinners. Luke probably also had medical training -- scholars usually link the writer/historian with the Luke Paul refers to as, "the beloved physician." (Colossians 4: 14)
What else do we know about Luke? The Acts of the Apostles indicate he spent much of his adult life traveling with Paul, even sticking with Paul through his suffering and death (2 Timothy 4: 11). He also probably spent quite a bit of time with those who knew Jesus during His earthly ministry, including Mary, the mother of Jesus. After all, the Gospel of Luke is the "Christmas Gospel" - the only Gospel where we get the details of Gabriel's appearance to Mary and get unique glimpses of Jesus' boyhood. It's also the only gospel where we hear Mary, inspired by the Spirit, proclaim the famous Magnificat ("My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…" Luke 1: 46 - 55).
But for all the facts Luke left us about Christ and His Church, he left very little information about himself. While we have details of the martyrdoms of many early followers, historians don't know how long Luke lived or how he died.
Of course, it's pretty safe to assume that Luke wasn't out to make a name for himself, but to make a name for God. And that's really where Luke's life and writings leave us - with yet another reminder that our confidence can rest securely with God and His Word. In a world that is always trying to sell us something, God gives us the wisdom we need to make the hard choices. In a world where words are often used to obscure the truth, God's Word cuts through the haze with profound, timeless truths. In a world where public figures cannot always be trusted, God works through His humble followers to restore our trust in Him.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Economies fluctuate and nations fall in and out of power. Put down the latest political commentary or turn off those negative news reports, and spend some extra time this week reading the eternal Word of God instead.