The Gospel Directed to the Heathen
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. Luke 1:1-4
Read Luke 3:1-6
For the next week we hope to focus our attention on the parable of the Good Samaritan as we find it in Luke 10. Many parables are found in more than one gospel, but Luke is the only one who has recorded this one for us. This is not by chance; all the evangelists had a particular purpose in writing their gospel with a special audience in view. Luke wrote his gospel to show that Christ came not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. Perhaps that is why he addressed his gospel specifically to Theophilus, who most probably was not a Jew (Luke 1:2); his name is a Greek name. Therefore, we conclude that Luke’s main purpose was to write for the heathen.
Luke regularly wrote about Christ’s compassion for non-Jews, mentioning Samaritans frequently. This race came into existence during the time of the Babylonian captivity. The poorer Jewish inhabitants who were permitted to remain in Canaan intermarried with the Assyrians who had moved into their region. The faith of these Samaritans became a mixture of Jewish and Syrian beliefs, with the result that the Jews who returned to Israel despised them. Perhaps you can identify with this. Some immigrants are looked down on today by the indigenous citizens of a country. In fact, most countries have their jokes about various ethnic groups living in their land. Some citizens even think it is cool to make fun of them. But have you ever considered how the Lord Jesus wants you to regard them? During this week we’ll hear more about this.
Thought: What is your attitude to foreigners that live in your country?
Psalter 442:1,3 (based on Psalm 87) Our gracious God has laid His firm foundations On Zion’s mount, the courts of His delight; Her gates of splendor, bathed in heavenly light, He loves far more than Jacob’s habitations. The Moor with the Philistine and the Tyrian Shall soon, O Zion, throng Thy holy gate; In gladsome strains we’ll hear her sons relate: “These all were born within the walls of Zion”.