Sermon: “ A New Beginning” (Luke 1:1–25)
Christians believe that coming to a right understanding of the identity, nature, and mission of Jesus is the most important thing any person could do. What, then, should we make of Jesus? From one perspective, we are dealing with a man born in an insignificant town, to insignificant parents. This man’s own people fiercely rejected him, and the Romans executed him on the cross in the precisely the same manner that they executed thousands of other criminals, prisoners, and political enemies. Separated from this man by two thousand years, why should his life make any difference to the doubts, suffering, pain, and chaos of our lives? More than that, Jesus calls us to give up everything to follow him (e.g., Luke 9:23–26). If we take Jesus seriously, we have much to lose!
We know almost nothing about Theophilus, the man to whom Luke addresses his Gospel (Luke 1:3). Nevertheless, Theophilus clearly has some level of confusion, doubts, and concerns about Jesus—perhaps many of the same concerns that we share. To address these concerns, Luke writes an “orderly account” of the life of Jesus in order that Theophilus (and we) may gain “certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3, 4). For all those who feel drawn emotionally and spiritually to Jesus, but who struggle to understand his significance intellectually, Luke writes to give much-needed clarity, assurance, and certainty about Jesus’ importance. In Luke 1:1–25, Luke’s first goal is to impress upon us that because Jesus fulfills and exceeds the old covenant, we may believe in him with certainty.