Tuesday, April 29, 2014

THERE’S HOPE FOR THE WORLD: The Principles Declared

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. (Luke 1:1-4)

Recorded in his Gospel account, we find the vital principles that became Luke’s passion to proclaim.  These principles centered on the most important figure in human history—Jesus Christ. 

Luke will share THE MIRACLE OF CHRIST.  It is true that Luke documents the miracles Christ performed—but, supremely Jesus is the Miracle Man in His person!  How ironic that a doctor gives us the most detail of the supernatural conception that brought the Son of God into the world.  He understood simple biology—that it took a man and a woman to make a baby.  But, this was the exception—a virgin would conceive and bear a child, “Immanuel” God with us!  This is the miracle of the incarnation.

The miracle of His life was foundational to THE MISSION OF CHRIST.  Only One who was fully God and wholly man could reconcile sinners to a Holy God.  That was why Jesus came.  How much this meant to a former hell-bound sinner, now a heaven-bound saint!  The central verse of Luke is found in 19:10: for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”   If that is the central verse, then Luke 15 is the key chapter.  Note the context:

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: (Luke 15:1-3)

Jesus goes on to speak of a man with one hundred sheep, who has one wander away—and how the shepherd leaves ninety nine to seek the one lost lamb and finds it, returning with rejoicing, restoring that sheep to the flock; of a woman with ten silver pieces who loses one coin—turning the house upside down until she finds that which she values and celebrates its recovery; and of a lost boy—a prodigal son who finally comes back to the father’s arms.  Jesus was condemned by the self-righteous critics for companying with such notorious sinners, yet He embraced it as His mission.  Jesus sought Paul.  That’s what led Paul to find Luke, and Luke to share with us.

So the mission is about declaring THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST.  Jesus came preaching a message of hope to a hopeless world.  From the moment he inaugurates His ministry this is His message.  Consider His first recorded sermon in His hometown:

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  (Luke 4:16-21).

What a message of hope!  These are the principles Luke declares.

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