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 with certainty the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)
My morning devotions led me to those words the other morning, and I have not been able to shake them from my consciousness since then. On the surface, it’s just a simple introductory message from an author to his readers, simply stating the reasons for his writing. He writes so that they would know about what had already happened. That’s his purpose. It’s why he does what he does. It’s in that little section labeled “Introduction” at the beginning of the different books of the Bible, though, and often we overlook that part to get on to the good stuff.
But I found myself reading it over and over, and even looking it up in my commentary to find out more. And the words have been rolling around in my head since then: “…they were handed down to us….it seemed good also to me….so that you may know…..”
It hit me like a crashing wave in the shallows of an ocean. I wasn’t looking for something particularly powerful, but I knew somehow that there was something for me in that simple passage. And when I heard it – heard the message within the message that was just for me – it nearly knocked me over because I wasn’t adequately braced for it.
You see, scholars suspect that Theophilus, the addressee of both Luke’s gospel and the book of Acts, was an actual honorable official within the government somehow. What I felt the Spirit nudge to me the other morning, though, was that I am Theophilus. I am one who knows and loves God, and that is, after all, what the word actually means. I am the one to whom He is writing…
…and he writes that I may know with certainty that everything I’ve heard about Jesus is true. He wrote then, a few years after Jesus walked the earth, so that the people then and the people who were to come would be able to rest in the certainty of all that we have heard about Him. He wrote so that we would know.
He wasn’t picturing my face, and he didn’t know the details of my life. He didn’t know when and where I would read the words he penned, but he knew that they needed to be written because he knew people needed to know.
And what I have come to understand is that I do the same thing. I don’t pretend that my writing has the impact of Scripture, or that it is to be as far-reaching as God’s Word. I don’t know how long this little blog will be here, or how many people will read the words I’m given, or if the words will resonate. What I do know, though, is that I have to write so that others may know. It seems good also to me to write what I know and what I have experienced so that you – whoever you are – may know with certainty the things you have been taught.
If you have been taught that God is loving and good and merciful and kind, I write so that you can hear from a person who’s pretty much like you that yes, that is true.
If you have been taught that Jesus is for you – yes, you – then I write so that you may know how personal and powerful and real that is.
If you have been taught that God has embedded a purpose within the fiber of each of us, I write within my purpose so that you may feel compelled to find yours.
If you have been taught that there is life and light and hope and freedom in a life that clings to Christ, I write so that you may know that even when we don’t do it perfectly, life alongside Christ is better than anything this world has to offer.
If you have been taught that God is present in every moment of every day, lovingly calling His children to Himself, I write so that you may know with certainty the reality of His presence in my life and may hope for the same for yourself.
Friends, I write because my life is not my own, and the words I am given are not for me alone. The act of writing is cathartic for me and reveals with amazing clarity the reality of how God works with me. The purpose of what I hear from God, though, is bigger than just that. I write because I believe that. I write so that you, too, may know.