The Heart of the Matter

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Esther 4:4-17Acts 18:1-11Luke (1:1-4),3:1-14

Luke shares with us what he believes are the essential details about Jesus, the Messiah.  He is one of the few to articulate what his purpose in writing is: “So that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”

Then with excruciating detail, Luke lets us in on the secret of who’s who and what’s what.  It is almost as if he is trying to prove that this is historical, rooting it in names and places.  It is if he is saying, “Who could make this up?”  It’s very different than the other gospels.

I find it interesting he wrote this for folks who had already been instructed in the faith.  It is as if the gospel text was pulled out after years coming to know Christ.  “Here, read this if you want to know even more.”  That is oral tradition at its best!

I wonder what people knew.  What had they seen and heard?  What is the essential truth to know about Jesus?

“Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”  Perhaps this is the heart of the Christian message.

If you have taken the Disciple I Bible study, you may remember how it starts.  It begins with a good hearty talk about the authority of scripture in our lives, and some of the different types of biblical literature and its purposes.  In it, we encounter John’s purpose: So that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  So many of the New Testament writers are wrestling with this very concept, and certainly Luke is wrestling with and responding to these questions as well: Where do the Jews fit in this?  How do Judaism and Christianity co-exist?

At the end of the day, Luke tells a great story.  And from the stories about John the Baptist to the miracles, to the tax collectors and sinners needing grace, to the time around the cross, we hear and see a consistent theme: God is coming, and when he does, ALL flesh shall see the salvation of God.

These are reassuring words to the faithful.  You too will meet up with the Savior of the world – this Jesus.  And you too will be filled with the promise of a second chance.  It came to the tax collectors and sinners and now it comes to you.

-Matt

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