Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)
It is stunning and wonderful to think that the longest book of the New Testament was written to one person, Theophilus. Does God love the world? Yes. Does God love all the nations? Yes. Does God love all the cities? Yes. Does he love individuals? Yes, he does. What a great comfort that he would go to such great lengths to actually have one book of the Bible given to one person. This indicates that God is very loving and he knows us all and doesn't deal with us as a herd but individually. The same God who loves the whole world also knows and loves you. You are loved by God.
Theophilus was possibly a non-Christian, or a new convert to Christianity. Perhaps he is wondering if everything he's heard about Jesus is really true—walking on water, casting out demons, multiplying fishes and loaves, healing the sick, resurrection from the dead. Did Jesus really say he was God? Can he really forgive sin? Is he really God become a man to reconcile us back to God?
The affluent, prominent, "most excellent Theophilus" has a lot to lose by publicly declaring himself to be a Christian. In that day, Caesar was lord. And as a Christian, Theophilus would pledge higher allegiance to Jesus the Lord. This could result in personal and financial ruin. He is likely a man wrestling with the implications of true faith, perhaps as you are: "Do I really believe in Jesus? Do I love Jesus? Do I belong to Jesus? Am I willing to go public and tell the world I am a Christian? Am I willing to give generously to the cause of Jesus?
What are the first five things that come to mind when you consider the practical ways God has shown his love to you?
Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus, which you can order here. He currently pastors The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family. For all of pastor Mark Driscoll's Bible teaching, please visit markdriscoll.org or download the app. You can download a free devotional e-book from pastor Mark here.
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