What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon, “The Great Historian”?
Q1: Who is dubbed “The Great Evangelist?”
Q2: Is Luke known as one of the greatest Jewish Apostles?
Q3: What does plérophoreó [play-rof-or-eh’-o] mean?
Q4: Why did Luke investigate the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life?
Q5: What Gospel writer gave the most attention to the miracles of Jesus?
Q6: Who gave the orders to slaughter all baby boys under two years old after Jesus was born?
Sermon Summary & Answers
As we enter the second sermon of our new series, Pastor Wilson takes time to lay out the His-story of Luke. Luke was known as “The Great Evangelist.” Unlike the other Gospel writers, he was not a Jew, nor was he an Apostle. He was a Gentile doctor with a very journalistic mind. He interviewed many witnesses to Christ’s time on earth. He was Paul’s most trusted travel companion, learning all he could from him. This gave him the material to write the biography of Jesus.
One of the foremost minds of the British Empire at the time of Queen Victoria, Sir William Ramsey, said that the book of Luke could not be trusted. So, over many years, he set out to prove it an unreliable myth by tracing the steps of the Apostle Paul in the Middle East. Much to his own amazement, his work proved that Luke’s writings were very much historically accurate.
“Luke is a historian of the first rank, not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy….he should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”Sir William Ramsey
In Luke 1:1-4, Luke tells us he investigates and writes this historical account for a reason. That reason is so that we may be fully assured of the facts of Jesus’ life and work. The Greek word for “fully assured” is plérophoreó [play-rof-or-eh’-o]. We see this word used repeatedly in the New Testament (Romans 4:21, Romans 14:5, and Colossians 2:2). Luke wants you to be fully convinced. He says that this is an account of what we most surely believe. He uses words like “eyewitnesses,” “investigated,” and “exact truth.”
The whole book of Luke is a letter written to a man named Theophilus. We only know that he was a prominent man by how he was addressed (“most excellent Theophilus”). It is suspected that he may have been funding Luke’s travels. As in any important letter written even today, there is an effort to pull out your best etiquette and use proper greetings and salutations. The first four verses are written in formal Greek (like a greeting), and the rest of the book is written in common Greek.
The body of the letter begins at verse five by establishing the historical context. We learn that Herod the Great (37-4 BC) (one of many Herods) was on the Judean throne. He was a descendant of Esau (“…and Esau I hated”). These people were known as Edomites (Syrians) and cursed by God. You may remember him as the Herod who slaughtered all boys under two years of age to hopefully kill baby Jesus. He was known for killing multiple family members, including his own children and large numbers of Jews. Despite his psychopathic behavior in his thirty-three-year reign, he was known to have erected and preserved many of the architectural structures we can view today in Rome.
We also learn about a central figure in the temple, Zacharias, and where he’s from (division of Abijah). His wife (Elizabeth) is from the family of the first temple priest, Aaron. There was even detail about Zacharias’ job that could easily have been verified by first-century readers.
Luke power-packed these first ten verses with details that most certainly took a great deal of time to gather. Luke gave a great deal of focus to Jesus’ miracles – more than any other gospel writer. He did this because he wanted to show us that…
- History Matters
- People Matter
- Your History Matters
- Jesus’ History Matters Most
Did you find this quiz and sermon summary helpful? Log on to gccbg.com/blog each week for the latest Q&A. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at email@example.com.
- No, he was a Gentile doctor, not Jewish nor an Apostle
- It means to be fully assured.
- So that we would know the exact truth about Jesus and His work.
- Herod the Great – King of Judea 37-4 BC