The former treatise [Luke] have I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commandments through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen (Acts 1:1-2).
Since Theophilus has a lot at stake, he hired Luke, a fellow Gentile—not a Jew who was looking for the Messiah, predisposed to some biased conclusion, but an educated and articulate man who has access to the apostles and other eyewitnesses. Theophilus commissioned Luke to go find the truth and provide a full report about Jesus.
This would have been a very expensive project; Theophilus funded two books of the Bible. Two thousand years later, had it not been for Theophilus' generosity, we would be lacking the largest contribution to the entire New Testament.
It's very simple. Theophilus was a man who gave generously, thereby enabling Luke to do his ministry. Rich people can love Jesus, and they're supposed to give generously, and poor people can love Jesus, and they're supposed to give generously. It's not about how much you make; it's about what you do with it. Theophilus decided to pay for Luke's ministry. And we got two books of the Bible out of it.
And I can assure you of this: Theophilus today, standing before the Lord Jesus, doesn't regret helping get the news of Jesus out to the world. What else are you planning on doing with your money? What else are you going to do with your intellect? I love that Luke gave his intellect and time and energy and Theophilus gave his money, and together, to this very day, we are still served by both of these exemplary men.
Luke set out to find the facts. This is important because Christianity is not a philosophical system, but a historical reality. Christianity is about one man—Jesus Christ, and one event—his resurrection from death. We can dismiss opinions, conjecture and hearsay, but facts point to truth that cannot be denied. And if you follow the truth wherever it leads, you end up at Jesus.
Luke conducts his research during a historically significant moment when a window of opportunity is closing, about 30 years after Jesus returned to heaven. The eyewitnesses are dying, and if someone doesn't capture the information soon, like a morning dew, it vanishes forever.
As an aside, it's incredible how Christianity is so often cast aside as a religion for the naive. Luke was intelligent and highly educated, conducting painstaking research for Theophilus who was also almost certainly intelligent and highly educated. No one can honestly dismiss Jesus without doing some homework, as Luke did. And his book is a great place to begin investigating the boy who is Lord.
How can you best use your talents (like Luke) and your money (like Theophilus) to honor Jesus and help others meet him?
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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