Weekly Devotional


COMMUNITY CONGREGATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH

CITRUS SPRINGS


January 13, 2021

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Thursday - Deacon's Meeting 1:00 pm

Opening Prayer - Holy God, as we make our way into 2021, quicken our spirit to meet the challenges with zeal and hope. Enlighten and embolden our hearts by Your Spirit to love life, confusing and difficult as it may be. Helps us to claim the promise that You overcame this world and are greater than all. In Jesus Name, Amen

LUKE 1: 1-4

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. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

I thought we would begin the years devotional with a look at the book of Luke. Like us, Luke is not a Jew, he is a Gentile and has come to the faith anew from his perspective outside the Jewish faith. I'll add things about him as we go along, but what I wanted to look at first is the text above. Without getting into all the facts and particulars about when the book was written and the approach he used, let's just let the opening come to us as it is and seek to hear him as he opens the letter to the reader. One thing we know about Luke was his vocation was a physician. I will go out on a limb to say that what may have drawn Luke to Jesus was what drew many. Jesus healed people. And not only Jesus, His disciples healed people (Acts 3:1-8, 5:14-16, 14:8-10). Luke, by trade, sought to bring healing to people, so it goes to reason that he would have been interested in Jesus and His disciples. What are the things that have intrigued you about Jesus? What has drawn you? We see that Luke does not respond to this intrigue with blind abandon. He comes as he is, he is an academic, a scholar of sorts. He states he makes a careful investigation of the things handed down by eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Being a physician of his day, I am sure he had plenty of experience running down rabbit holes trying to find techniques and cure for what ailed the masses. Who knows, like many who undertake such professions, he may have had his own personal reasoning for finding ways to cure the soul and maybe Jesus had the answer. Whatever the reason, he put his best forward as he sought to understand and then convey his findings in his account of Jesus. I like his statement, I too have decided to write. Luke listened, investigated and sought the truth, personally and then he did something with it. Luke sought his own finding free of other's personal agendas and that is what he wants to convey to Theophilos. Why? So Theophilos will have a trustable accounting of Jesus from which to draw conclusions from. Luke identifies with Theophilos' struggle to understand and know, because he too went through the same struggle. He knew what it meant to need sources he could trust from which he could make decisions. Luke was a physician, a scientist, who cared about people and wanted to help them. He had no time for fools or dreamers, especially when dealing with the ills of society. Yet, Luke also knew there was a God and that God was a part of the picture too, but how to connect all the dots to find his way to God and understand how the whole thing came together? That was the question both he had struggled with and the question he knew his friend now struggled to resolve. But notice, yes, Luke is excited to share his findings with his friend and hoped that what he said would help, but he leaves the results, the decision, with Theophilos. He does his friend the favor of giving him his best work, but he also respects his friend as a person well capable of coming to his own conclusions. Luke is a good friend, both to Theophilos and to us. What he shares is enlightning, but it is shared, given, left for us and for Theophilos to draw from and then to come to our own conclusions.

We can learn a lot from Luke. Luke drew from his strengths and passions when working out his own faith and sharing it with others. He came to an understanding of Jesus and trusted his process and conclusions. And when he shared them, he respected and cared about the people with which he shared them, because he could relate to their struggle. All of us struggle and have been through many struggles in our life. So why is it we often miss the struggles of others. Instead, we treat life as though it were a contest? We view others in this life like they are winners and losers? I often listen to interviews of those who have "won" in different areas of life and sometimes I hear an arrogant blowhard or I hear the person who admits a lot of things fell into place for them without doing much to propagate the results. Consider what happened last week, depending on your view, or the side you are routing for, you see one group as winning and the other losing. I see a lot of fear and anger and pain on all "sides". And sometimes, I hear someone who is grateful that God assisted and gifted them along the way. Granted, hard work is needed and should be assumed as a part of the process of success (Luke 12:48), but watch how it all plays out with Luke. Luke was most likely a man of some means and academic prous, but he also knows where his real treasure is (Mt 6:21 & 16:26). And by knowing that and acting on it, God can bless it to the point that we can still draw from it today (Luke 14:11).

God's peace,
Pastor Brian