Saturday, April 4, 2015

Insight: The Coming of Jesus

Who was Luke?  According to Ellen White,


 "Luke, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, was a medical missionary. In the Scriptures he is called the beloved physician. Colossians 4:14. The apostle Paul heard of his skill as a physician, and sought him out as one to whom the Lord had entrusted a special work. He secured his co-operation, and for some time Luke accompanied him in his travels from place to place. After a time, Paul left Luke at Philippi, in Macedonia. Here he continued to labor for several years, both as a physician and as a teacher of the gospel. In his work as a physician he ministered to the sick, and then prayed for the healing power of God to rest upon the afflicted ones. Thus the way was opened for the gospel message. Luke's success as a physician gained for him many opportunities for preaching Christ among the heathen. It is the divine plan that we shall work as the disciples worked." -Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, pp. 140-141.


As mentioned above, he authored the Gospel according to Luke.  According to our lesson,


"Acts 1:1 tells us that before Acts was written, its author wrote a former account. This, and the fact that both accounts were addressed to Theophilus (Greek for 'lover of God'), helps lead us to conclude that one author was responsible for both books. The two accounts can be viewed as Part 1 and 2 of Origin and History of the Christian Church. Part 1 is a narrative of the life and work of Jesus (the Gospel of Luke) and Part 2 (Acts of the Apostles) is an account of the spread of the message of Jesus and of the early church."


This quarter we will focus on the Gospel he wrote.  What makes his Gospel unique?  Our lesson states,

In addition to being a physician, Luke was a meticulous historian. In introducing the Gospel, Luke places Jesus in real history; that is, he puts the story in the historical context of its times: Herod was the king of Judea (Luke 1:5), Augustus reigned over the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1), and a priest by the name of Zacharias was exercising his turn in the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 1:5,9). In chapter 3, Luke mentions six contemporary dates related to the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus.

Thus, Luke places the story of Jesus in history-real people, real times-in order to dismiss any idea of mythology with his narrative. His readers must stand in awe and wonder at the fact that Jesus is real and that through Him God has invaded history with the Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11, NKJV).


So, Luke presents Christ, the Son of God, as a man.  He was born like we are, and lived as we live (without yielding to temptation).  This according to Ellen White is key to the plan of salvation.  She states,


The more we think about Christ's becoming a babe here on earth, the more wonderful it appears. How can it be that the helpless babe in Bethlehem's manger is still the divine Son of God? Though we cannot understand it, we can believe that He who made the worlds, for our sakes became a helpless babe. Though higher than any of the angels, though as great as the Father on the throne of heaven, He became one with us. In Him God and man became one, and it is in this fact that we find the hope of our fallen race. Looking upon Christ in the flesh, we look upon God in humanity, and see in Him the brightness of divine glory, the express image of God the Father (Selected Messages 3:127, 128).{LHU 75.5}

In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem's manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race (The Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896).{LHU 75.6}


God's love for us is equal to how much did Christ lowered Himself for us.  All we are ask ion return is heartfelt appreciation – to be grateful.  


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