Since early in my new life as a follower of Jesus, I have had a special fondness for Luke. One of the features we find in his writing (he wrote both this and Acts) is the detail he gives to descriptions of the people profiled. This attention to detail fits with the understanding that the writer is Luke the physician that was on Paul’s church planting team (see Philemon 1:24 and Colossians 4:14)
As we begin the letter Luke explains his purpose in writing this history or Jesus’ life and ministry, “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.” Luke 1:3-4
Scholars generally accept that Luke is writing under a commission from a wealthy patron, named Theophilus, who was very interested in collecting and preserving an accurate account of both Jesus’ life and also the formation of the church. Luke also wrote Acts for Theophilus. The two books are virtually the same length and both fit on the standard size scroll of that time, making publication and distribution easy according to The Bible Background Commentary.
As we read through Luke’s account the next few weeks, keep in mind that this is accurate history that has been well researched and preserved. Written during the lifetime of eyewitnesses the information was verified and endorsed by those who were there. God wanted us to know the truth so that we can build our lives on a foundation that is rock solid.