Luke 1:1-4 (written c.AD 69)
We live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
AND, our faith is based on historical facts, without which our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:17).
‘Faith’ is not a virtue on its own – many people have ‘faith’ in people, ideas, things or their own strength, all of which in time is shown to be fallible. Our faith is in the one who has been proven to be exactly who he has claimed to be for thousands of years: God.
Our faith is in the fact of him sending his one and only son to earth, to live here in perfect sinlessness for over 30 years, to die, and then to be raised to physical life again before rejoining his Father in heaven. Encouraged by those historical events, the keeping of God’s literally hundreds of promises about Jesus, and the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts we come to repentance and faith, which God bolsters throughout our lives even as our circumstances may wax and wane.
Luke’s acquaintance/friend Theophilus had been taught the truth about Jesus, and had heard the stories of the apostle Paul’s life (and, by this time, most likely also his death). Luke therefore decided to write a two-part history of Jesus and the early church (which we think of as the books of Luke and Acts) to help bolster and ground that faith in the facts of history.
Christians, then, are not people who run from history or science to an echo chamber of unverifiable ideas. Rather, we trust in the God for whom history really is HIS story, trusting that as the creator of the universe and Lord of all, and as our Saviour, that he will continue to be faithful to us even as we are frequently unfaithful to him.
Thank God that he inspired Luke, and the other writers, to research thoroughly and write down exactly what Jesus did and said, because he has given us the words of life.