Summary: Introducing Luke's gospel, considering the background and purpose, as well as the first four verses.
Luke 1:1-4 “Investigating the Hero-King”
What is significant about the date 9-11-01?
Do you remember where you were when it happened? What kind of impact did that event have on the world? What changed because of it?
It’s safe to say that the terrorist attack that destroyed the WTC on 9-11 was a world-changing event, right? Maybe not to EVERYONE in the world...but in terms of the shape of the world’s larger civilizations and superpowers,...everything has been shaken.
The way we travel, the privacy we’ve lost, or sense of security... the whole world economy has all been impacted to some degree or another by the events of that day. Governmental policies changed, wars ignited…multitudes have lost their lives or way of life. And since that day, there have been countless books and articles and documentaries and movies made to investigate what happened, why it happened, what the results have been. Partly because its important for us to try and understand it...partly because we want it remembered so that future generations can learn from it...partly because we’re STILL experiencing the effects of that day.
When something like that happens...we FEEL the weight of it’s importance...and we also feel the sense of obligation to record it...because people under the age of NINE did not live through it…yet their world is SHAPED by it. So a book or documentary which recounts the events and ramifications of that day are pretty important documents, wouldn’t you say?
There was another event, which occurred about 2,000 years ago…
It was an event that took place over the span of 33 years, and was even more world impacting than the events of 9-11.The thing that is amazing about that event is the seeming insignificance of it at the time it happened...the incredibly understated way in which it all occurred…yet it is something that has shaped the very world we live in now...the world prior to this event was a completely different world.
This event changed the standard for world rulers and governments...it revolutionized the human race’s understanding of the importance of equality and freedom….of human dignity and human rights.
It is the direct root of all modern charities and relief organizations, of all hospitals and rehabilitation and recovery groups, like Goodwill or AA…The emphasis to educate our children and the advancement of arts and literature and music are all directly related to this event, as well as the advancement of civil liberties.
A lot of wars and horrible things have happened that have their origins in this event as well...things that have shaped the world in very undesirable ways…
but whether it’s the intended application or the twisted use and abuse of it...one thing is constant…and that is, this event is the ground zero of all those changes.
What event are we talking about? It’s incredible...it strains at the edges of what we could consider believable….but the news that comes to us from 2,000 years ago is that God appeared to the human race as ONE of us!
Here at ECF, we're going to begin an exploration of the Gospel of Luke.
Now...I’ll admit right off the bat, this is a pretty big undertaking...but I have some really important reasons WHY I believe we need to do this.
For one thing, the church used to THRIVE on teaching from the gospels...our whole thing as Christians is that we are FOLLOWING Christ...and to do that, we really need to know about him, who he is, what he taught...what he DID.
We’re going to find that in the Gospel story.
The teaching epistles are important, and we do study those...but this...the STORY of Jesus the Christ...this is paramount to our understanding of what it is to be His follower.
But there’s something else...the coming of Christ into the world is the event that changed the world...it shaped the world we presently live in…and yet...so few know anything about it.
Christianity has become so caricatured in our society that most people under the age of 30 automatically associate Christianity with intolerance and narrow-minded bigotry...without knowing anything about what J taught, or what J did.
That makes it profoundly important for us, His followers, to know and be familiar with the story and teachings of Jesus...right?
Ok...so, that being said…let’s get a little background on this gospel.
This gospel is one of the three SYNOPTIC gospels...that is, it tells the whole story from a common view...a synopsis. John is NOT considered a synoptic gospel because it doesn’t cover the story as an overview...and it contains so many different stories than the other 3.
Luke is the longest of all four gospels (it has 1,151 vrs compared 2 Matt’s 1,071)...and while it has much of the same material as Matt and Mark...it also has stories that those don’t have. In Luke we have a much more detailed account of Christ’s birth, we have a whole section of parables that are unique to Luke as well as characters that are highlighted nowhere else. And a protracted resurrection account.