READ : Luke 1:5-17
The priesthood . . . the sanctuary . . . the incense offering . . . an angel. (vv. 9-11)
Theophilus, the “Friend of God” to whom Luke addresses his Gospel, may have been a real person. Or he may have been an imaginary figure representing Luke’s ideal reader. Either way, “Theophilus” indicates that Luke is writing for a non-Jewish audience.
But, Dr. Luke, if your book is meant for Gentiles more than Jews, and especially if it’s meant for Gentiles rather than Jews, why does chapter 1 plunge us straight into all this Jewish stuff? A temple in Jerusalem, and a priest and a sacrifice and an angel appearing, for heaven’s sake! What’s this got to do with my world?
Well, Mr. Theophilus, my book is about God’s plan to put our sad world to rights: all of it, all its nations, and all the things that are wrong with it. But that plan was centered on one particular person, and that person was going to be born into one particular nation, and that nation was Israel. I agree, my Zechariah story may seem irrelevant at first to a lot of my readers, but to understand the solution to a worldwide problem you need to understand the background to it. And this old man and his angel visitor are a part of that?
You bet. And his son, and most of all his son’s cousin. You’ll see.
Lord, teach us to appreciate that strange old world from which the good news came.