“to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:3-5)
“all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up . . . presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs . . .speaking about the kingdom of God . . .and ordered them . . .to be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:1-4)
On first day of a church class, an adolescent and his friends attending the course on “The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts” were amused when their new pastor who was teaching the course kept calling that adolescent, “Theophilus”. They surmised that their new pastor had been confused with names because he was meeting them for the first time. But even as he nodded joyfully, when they told him what the adolescent’s actual name was—the next time he addressed that adolescent, he still heartily called him, Theophilus.
Experiencing their pastor as a good natured, smiley, and kindly elder man, they were happy to indulge his faux pas as welcomed humour whenever he greeted the adolescent heartily as Theophilus; sometimes from even across their large worship hall. On the last day of class, they wanted to help their pastor out by reminding him again that the adolescent’s actual name was Randy. To their profound surprise and discovery, the pastor lovingly and joyfully replied, he knew that all along. He wanted however to spur all of them to reflect on whether they too have the same need as Theophilus, for whom Luke wrote the Gospel and the Book of Acts were written for and addressed to specifically.
Their pastor began to explain that the name “Theophilus” means, one who is loved by God and who also loves God. Luke saw that Theophilus had received teachings about Jesus, but apparently only in bits and pieces, which was not adequate for Theophilus to comprehend Jesus Christ enough to be certain. God inspired Luke, who had been serving with the Apostle Paul, to help Theophilus. Luke saw that what Theophilus needed to have that certainty was an orderly account of what Jesus did and taught until the day He was taken up; including about the kingdom of God, and the proofs Jesus gave that He has risen from the dead and is alive ever since. Those however are not merely more information for Theophilus to grasp with his mind. They are truth and reality that Theophilus needed to experience by the help of the Holy Spirit, if Theophilus is to grow in certainty and conviction. Therefore, it is just as important that Theophilus also receives the Holy Spirit, who could testify to Theophilus, so that revelation becomes experienced.
Friends, do you have this same need as Theophilus? If you do, would you, like Theophilus, let Luke and the Holy Spirit help you towards certainty? Luke’s orderly account and the testimony of the Holy Spirit are available also to you in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Would you read and pray through those revelations and testimonies there and receive (let) the Holy Spirit to testify to you?
Rev. Joseph Goh