Small things, Theophilus
It’s the small things that strikes one’s heart. Like the elderly friend who took me aside shortly after I married Elora and whispered to me how really rich marriage is. It was not just that he was married a long time or a really wise person. It was the fact he pulled me aside, the gentle but stout grip he placed on my shoulder and the glimmer in his eye as he shared with a young man his aged experience of love and my new found experience with all its excitement and life.
So it is with the Bible. Jesus knew it would be tougher for those of us who are challenged to believe yet do not get see Him physically walk among us. Yet, in his Word are the little things. The affections are there for us.
Tonight I was enlightened to this idea. It is believed Luke’s Gospel was volume one of a two part book. Acts is actually the second volume. Interestingly, Luke writes it to a man named Theophilus. This Greek name was common at the time.
Some scholars believe Theophilus was a Roman official, others believe he was a Jewish priest. Others hold the view Theophilus was Paul’s attorney during his time at Rome. Strange that Luke would write an entire book to just one man. Yet, there is one view, often accepted in academic circles, which stands out to me. Luke wasn’t writing to just one person, but to you and I. He was calling us Theophilus. For Theophilus was an honorary title too. It simply meant “friend of God”.
Luke was a man of precision. A doctor. He specifically states his reason for writing Luke and Acts in the opening paragraph of his two volume series.
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:1-4
Remember, its the small seemingly insignificant things which make the difference. Those deliver great affections. I believe Luke just could have been addressing me. He could have been addressing you, most excellent friend of God. He could have been bestowing an honorable title on us.
Luke knew it would be hard for us. Jesus told him it would be. We rarely get to see Jesus face to face. So Luke needed you and I to know from the very beginning we were friends of God.
Its like the elderly gentleman pulling me aside when I knew little about the adventure I was embarking on. With a twinkle in his eye, a strong arm around my shoulder, quietly, privately letting me know I am in the club. My elderly friend was at the end of his road and I could tell he envied the start of my journey. He also knew it would be tough and rewarding.
In this same way Luke draws us in and bestows an affectionate identity upon us. So, if you find the time, Theopholis, friend of God, crack open Luke. Read through Acts. You might stumble across the small things. They make all the difference.