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Luke's purpose in writing
Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught. LUKE 1:1-4
As a medical doctor, Luke knew the importance of being thorough. He used his skills in observation and analysis to carefully investigate the stories about Jesus. His diagnosis? The gospel of Jesus Christ is true! You can read the accounts of Jesus' life with confidence that they are factual and reliable. Because the gospel is founded on historical truth, our spiritual growth must involve careful, disciplined, and thorough investigation of God's Word so that we can understand how God has acted in history. Christianity doesn't say, "Close your eyes and believe," but rather, "Check it out for yourself." The Bible encourages you to investigate its claims thoroughly (John 1:46;21:24; Acts 17:11-12) because your conclusion about Jesus is a life-and-death matter. Check out the evidence.
The Gospel of Luke tells Jesus' story from Luke's unique perspective as a Gentile, a physician, and the first historian of the early church. Though not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry, Luke nevertheless was concerned that eyewitness accounts be preserved accurately.
January 2 READ JOHN 1:1-5
God became a human being
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. JOHN 1:1-5
READ AND BELIEVE
What Jesus taught and what he did are tied inseparably to who he is. John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the truth about Jesus and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to him. That is why John wrote this Gospel-to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ so that we may believe that he truly was and is the Son of God (John 20:30-31). You can trust John, an eyewitness to what Jesus said and did. You can believe in Christ, God's Son.
Christ created the world, but the people he created didn't recognize him (John 1:10). Even the Jews rejected him, although they had been chosen by God to prepare the rest of the world for the Messiah (John 1:11) and although the entire Old Testament pointed to his coming.
READ JOHN 1:6-13 January 3
God became a human being
God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn't recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn-not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. JOHN 1:6-13
A NEW PERSON
All who welcome Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Christ, we are changed from the inside out-as God helps us rearrange our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes you physically alive and places you in your parents' family (John 1:13). Being born of God makes you spiritually alive and puts you in God's family (John 1:12). Have you asked Christ to make you a new person? This fresh start in life is available to all who believe in Christ.
John wrote to believers everywhere, both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). As one of Jesus' twelve disciples, John was an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry. His book is not a biography (as is the book of Luke); it is a thematic presentation of Jesus' life.
January 4 READ JOHN 1:14-18
God became a human being
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.
John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, "This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'"
From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart. He has revealed God to us. JOHN 1:14-18
GOD AND MAN
When Christ "became human and made his home among us," he became (1) the perfect teacher-in Jesus' life we see how God thinks and therefore how we should think (Philippians 2:5-11); (2) the perfect example-as a model of what we are to become, he shows us how to live and gives us the power to live that way (1 Peter 2:21); and (3) the perfect sacrifice-Jesus came as a sacrifice for all sins, and his death satisfied God's requirements for the removal of sin (Colossians 1:15-23). Keep your focus on Christ.
When Christ was conceived and born, God became a man. He was not part man and part God; he was completely human and completely divine. Christ was the perfect expression of God in human form. The two most common errors people make about Jesus are to minimize his humanity or to minimize his divinity. Jesus is both God and man.
READ LUKE 3:23-38 January 5
The ancestors of Jesus
Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry.
Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Heli. Heli was the son of Matthat. Matthat was the son of Levi. Levi was the son of Melki. Melki was the son of Jannai. Jannai was the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Mattathias. Mattathias was the son of Amos. Amos was the son of Nahum. Nahum was the son of Esli. Esli was the son of Naggai. Naggai was the son of Maath. Maath was the son of Mattathias. Mattathias was the son of Semein. Semein was the son of Josech. Josech was the son of Joda. Joda was the son of Joanan. Joanan was the son of Rhesa. Rhesa was the son of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the son of Neri. Neri was the son of Melki. Melki was the son of Addi. Addi was the son of Cosam. Cosam was the son of Elmadam. Elmadam was the son of Er. Er was the son of Joshua. Joshua was the son of Eliezer. Eliezer was the son of Jorim. Jorim was the son of Matthat. Matthat was the son of Levi. Levi was the son of Simeon. Simeon was the son of Judah. Judah was the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Jonam. Jonam was the son of Eliakim. Eliakim was the son of Melea. Melea was the son of Menna. Menna was the son of Mattatha. Mattatha was the son of Nathan. Nathan was the son of David. David was the son of Jesse. Jesse was the son of Obed. Obed was the son of Boaz. Boaz was the son of Salmon. Salmon was the son of Nahshon. Nahshon was the son of Amminadab. Amminadab was the son of Admin. Admin was the son of Arni. Arni was the son of Hezron. Hezron was the son of Perez. Perez was the son of Judah. Judah was the son of Jacob. Jacob was the son of Isaac. Isaac was the son of Abraham. Abraham was the son of Terah. Terah was the son of Nahor. Nahor was the son of Serug. Serug was the son of Reu. Reu was the son of Peleg. Peleg was the son of Eber. Eber was the son of Shelah. Shelah was the son of Cainan. Cainan was the son of Arphaxad. Arphaxad was the son of Shem. Shem was the son of Noah. Noah was the son of Lamech. Lamech was the son of Methuselah. Methuselah was the son of Enoch. Enoch was the son of Jared. Jared was the son of Mahalalel. Mahalalel was the son of Kenan. Kenan was the son of Enosh. Enosh was the son of Seth. Seth was the son of Adam. Adam was the son of God. LUKE 3:23-38 (see also Matthew 1:1-17)
Imagine the Savior of the world working in a small-town carpenter's shop until he was thirty years old! It seems incredible that Jesus would have been content to remain in Nazareth all that time, but he patiently trusted his heavenly Father's timing for his life and ministry. Priests began their ministry at thirty (Numbers 4:3), Joseph began serving the king of Egypt at thirty (Genesis 41:46), and David was thirty years old when he began to reign over Judah (2 Samuel 5:4). Age thirty, then, was a good time to begin an important task in the Jewish culture. Like Jesus, we need to resist the temptation to jump ahead of the Spirit's direction. Are you waiting and wondering what your next step should be? Don't jump ahead-trust God's timing.
Matthew's genealogy goes back to Abraham and shows that Jesus was related to all Jews. Luke's genealogy goes back to Adam, showing that Jesus is related to all human beings. This is consistent with Luke's picture of Jesus as the Savior of the whole world.
Excerpted from The Daily God Book A YEAR WITH JESUS by Neil S. Wilson Copyright © 2000 by The Livingstone Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
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