Tag Archives: Gospel

Luke (Dec 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to each chapter-a-day post for the book of the Gospel of Luke published by Tom Vander Well in December 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post

Chapter 1: Grappling with “Never”
Chapter 2: Grappling with the Unexpected
Chapter 3: An Ancient Ritual; A Fresh Perspective

You’re all caught up! Posts will be added here as they are published. Click on the image below for easy access to other recent posts indexed by book.

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Two Questions

When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” John 1:38a (NRSV)

This morning I am struck by two questions.

First, John the Baptist was asked “Who are you?” Isn’t this what we’re all asking of ourselves? Isn’t what we are really asking of others? Aren’t we all fundamentally desiring to know and be known? I found it interesting that when asked if he was the prophet Elijah he answered, “no.” Yet, Jesus would later tell his disciples that John was, in fact, the Elijah of whom the prophets spoke (Matt 11:14). John, like all of us, was still seeking to know himself. He saw in part, and he knew in part.

As I approach my 50th birthday in a few months, I find myself stepping back and looking at the big picture of life. My mind evaluates where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going. I believe I know myself better than I ever have, but the excavations of heart, mind, soul, and spirit are ongoing projects. “Who am I?” is still as valid a question as it ever has been. The answer is still a worthwhile pursuit.

The second question that struck me in today’s opening chapter of John’s biography are the first words of Jesus that John chooses to record: “What are you looking for?”

What an incredible question to pose to the reader. It is the pertinent question for any who read John’s Gospel. What are you looking for? What am I looking for? Savior? Teacher? Prophet? Con man? Jester? Lunatic? Liar? Lord?

John makes no bones about who he is presenting. The first 14 verses of today’s chapter, the prologue, are among the most beautifully crafted in all of God’s Message and present Jesus as Creator, Incarnate Word, Light, giver of Life, and Redeemer. Nevertheless, John seems to understand that no matter how skillfully he gives testimony to the person of Jesus he knew, saw, heard, and touched there remains for each reader two essential questions:

Who am I?
What am I looking for?

 

chapter a day banner 2015Featured image: detail from The St. John’s Bible

Chapter-a-Day Luke 1

Evangelist Luke writing, Byzantine illuminatio...
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Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught. Luke 1:3-4 (MSG)

The author of Luke was a physician, a man of science, and a scholar. You can tell by the style of his writing. Of the four gospel writers, Luke was the most thorough. Mark seemed interested in briefly providing the most necessary information about Jesus. Matthew, though more expansive than Mark, wrote like man of finance. His account is written logically. While he does include some information about Jesus’ heredity and birth,  Matthew sticks closely to that which he can personally quantify: what he himself saw, heard, and experienced as a follower of Jesus. John is the artist among the four gospel writers. He begins with a poetically penned introduction and weaves events and sermons in a literary tapestry. Luke’s account of Jesus’ life was unique.

Luke is the scientest. Luke investigates. Luke asks questions, interviews eyewitnesses, and weighs the evidence. Luke is writing a documentary and he wants us readers to consider all of the evidence he’s gathered. Matthew, Mark and John focus mainly on the three years of Jesus’ ministry and the culminating crucifixion and resurrection. Luke wants us to know that there’s even more to the story. He tells Mary’s story of Jesus’ birth and childhood. He includes details in Jesus’ story the other writers left out. Luke wants to lay out all the evidence he’s collected. Along with Theophilus, he wants us to make a reasoned decision about who Jesus really is.

Being a follower of Jesus is a matter of faith. There is no doubt about that. This life journey following the footsteps of Christ requires me to be sure of what I do not see. But, being a faith journey does not negate the power of reason. A veritable host of others, with intellects far superior to mine, have examined the evidence and made a reasoned decision to believe that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be.

Reason without faith is a dead end. Faith without reason leads astray. Faith and reason reveal the path to Truth.

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