I can’t tell you how incredible it was to read through the Old Testament in chronological order. God opened my eyes to so many new and amazing things. However, I am so VERY grateful to be moving on to the New Testament this week. Glory!!! I appreciated Jesus and His sacrifice before, but today I can honestly say I have a greater and deeper appreciation for Him than ever before. This year’s journey is changing my heart to look more like His and showing me the great power of His word in ways I’ve never known. That said, let’s get into some gospels!
The beginning of Luke reminds us this book was a letter to Theophilus. We don’t know anything about Theophilus except the book of Acts was also a letter written to him. Even though it’s thought that Luke was written after both Matthew and Mark, I pause on his book today because Luke was an avid researcher and Gentile. He didn’t take the stories of Jesus lightly and investigated them in detail before compiling his letter.
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. Luke 1:1-4
In fact, without the book of Luke we wouldn’t know as much as we do about the life of Jesus. Scholars have even said that almost 60% of Luke (HCSB, pg. 1725) isn’t even mentioned in the other gospels. Unique to Luke is information on: the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, more detailed travel information, the Emmaus road experience, the only description of Jesus’s ascension into Heaven and much more. For me, this illustrates the obsession Luke had for research and detail.
And John the Baptist . . . many of us know his amazing story of being born to Elizabeth (who was to old to conceive) after an angel appeared to her husband in the temple and how John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary (who was pregnant with Jesus) came to visit. All that information really stands out, but I came across this little nugget about John the Baptist that stood out to me. It’s just one verse.
The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel. John 1:80
John was clearly sent by God to foretell of the coming of Jesus. God ensured his parents (although old) had a firm foundation and clearly brought him up under God’s laws, but they were old so either they died and left John, they just couldn’t keep up with him because of their age so he roamed the wilderness or he just liked the wilderness. Whatever the case, what’s amazing to me is that He stayed tucked away, out of the public eye only to step out at the age of 30 and begin a very public ministry foretelling of the Savior of the world and Son of God.
Wow! Think about it. He went from wilderness to the spot light overnight. If you ever doubt that God can take your set of skills (no matter how insignificant they seem to you) and use them for His glory, I pray you will remember John the Baptist. If you ever feel as if you don’t have enough experience or God doesn’t have a plan for your life, I pray you will remember John the Baptist. I wonder how John finally realized his role for God’s Kingdom? What made him set out at the age of 30 to begin telling others about Jesus? These and so many more questions keep me coming back to God’s story day after day?