“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:1–4, NIV84)
Today we begin a devotional series on the Gospel of Luke. I think it is important for us to remember that Luke was not one of the original 12 disciples. Neither was Mark. So, only two of the gospels were actually written by firsthand eyewitness of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke was a convert to Christianity — probably through the ministry of Paul (who also was not one of the original 12).
So, Luke tells us here that others had written about all that had been fulfilled through Jesus’ life. You see, at this time tradition was already spreading the news that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The gospel was naturally spreading throughout the area. Some had even written their accounts down. Luke was most likely referring to a couple of the other Gospels. Note that he mentioned that traditions were being handed down by the “servants of the Word.” The 12 disciples had become a one-minded unit who were telling everyone they could what they knew about Jesus.
Luke tells us that he desired to do two things. One, he wanted to go back to the beginning. His Gospel would not begin with Jesus. Not even with John. It would begin with an angel coming to Zechariah promising the birth of John. The second thing is that he wanted to provide an orderly account. His goal was to be as consistent as possible with the chronology of Jesus’ ministry. Why? So that Theophilus might be certain about the gospel message he had heard and had newly begun to believe in.
The point I would like to make is that Christianity is not a religion of deep mysticism or philosophy. It is a religion deeply rooted in searchable history and documented fact. Luke wanted Theophilus to know that his faith could be rooted in truth and reality. The same is true for us. God works in and through history to cause His will to be done. He did so in the life of Jesus. He does so in our lives as well.
Like Theophilus, we can be certain about what we believe.