Summary: An introduction to Luke considering the trustworthiness of the author, the sources of information, the process of writing
Luke – Can we trust the Map?
I don’t know how many of you watch the show Survivor. I know – many of you are thinking – that is garbage. It is all about greed and money. And I’ll grant that it is. But I love to watch, it because I learn a lot about people from it. It is amazing how different personalities interact and react in different circumstances. Anyway – a new series of Survivor has just started and is set in the Pearl Islands amongst the history and traditions of pirates and treasure. And one of the rewards for winning challenges is a piece of a treasure map which will lead them to a huge stash of supplies (food, lights, blankets, etc) hidden somewhere on their island. Without the complete map, they could be searching forever to find these much needed supplies. But with the full and accurate Map, the treasure is theirs.
Today, I want us to begin on a journey which will lead us to a treasure. We all want to find some sort of treasure don’t we because we have this belief that it will be beautiful, that it will satisfy all our needs. Craig Randall drove a garbage truck in Peabody, Massachusetts. In a garbage container one day, he noticed a Wendy’s soft drink cup bearing a contest sticker. Having won a chicken sandwich the week before, Randall checked it, hoping for some french fries or a soft drink. Instead, he peeled a sticker worth $200,000 toward the construction of a new home. Well sometimes treasure is found in the most odd places.
The treasure that we will be looking for is not financial treasure. It is Jesus. We will be working our way through the Gospel of Luke in an attempt to get to know Jesus better – to find out what made him tick – to find out who He is really and most of all to find out how we can be his disciples.
But before we begin on our treasure hunt, we’ve got to make sure we have a trustworthy map. So the question that I want to ask this morning is – “Can we trust the map?”
Could you please open your bibles to Luke 1. Now if you didn’t bring your bibles – let this be a warning –you need to bring your bibles to church to follow along. Firstly so you can follow and make sure that we are following the Map and that I’m not leading you astray. Secondly, so that you can take more in for yourself By looking at the map, it will be easier for you to understand that we have to go 30 paces past the third tree on the left, rather than me just telling you. And thirdly, you need to bring your map, so that you get used to using it yourself so that if anything happens to me or Pastor Roger, you can follow the map by yourself. So please bring your map with you – there may be just some treasure for those who bring their bibles next week!!!!
Before we read, lets pray …
Lord, You’ve said that your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. This morning, we pray that as we examine your word, that you would guide us. Lead us in your paths we pray and help us to see you more clearly this morning. Amen.
Read Luke 1:1-4
This passage, right at the beginning of this gospel account tries to define for us the credentials of this treasure Map.
It was customary among the great Greek and Hellenistic historians, including the first-century Jewish writer Josephus, to explain and justify their work in a preface. Their object was to assure the reader of their capability, thorough research, and reliability. So the author here outlines his sources, the method of making the map and the purpose for which the Map was made. We’ll examine each of these soon, but one thing seems to be missing … the identification of the author himself.
Can we Trust the Map? - Is the Author Credible?
If you were to trust a treasure Map, you’d want to know that the author of it was reliable and knew what he / she was talking about, so it is strange that no one seems to take credit for this account. But this letter doesn’t have any identifying statement. But we do have some clues.
Firstly - the gospel is addressed to a guy named Theophilus (vs 3) whose name literally means “Lover of God.” Some people think that this is enough proof to claim that the Gospel was addressed not to an individual, but to all people who love God. But this doesn’t make too much sense. Because the author addresses him as “most excellent.” This title or mark of respect was reserved for important officials or members of the aristocracy. Paul uses the same word to address the Governors of Caesarea – Felix and Festus – Acts 23:26, 26:25). It doesn’t make any sense in using such as specific title for a symbolic group of people and so it is likely that this is a real person.