For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
—2 Peter 1:16
What makes the gospel of Luke unique? Unlike Matthew and John, Luke was not an eyewitness to Jesus’s life, yet Luke’s account is very reliable. It is carefully researched. Look at Luke 1:1-4. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”
I want you to notice the three sources of Luke’s information that we will see in this gospel. First, Luke consulted eyewitnesses. The Greek word translated “eyewitnesses” in Luke 1:2 is the same word from which we get our English word “autopsy.” An autopsy means to see with one’s own eyes. And so Luke interviewed eyewitnesses who saw these miraculous things about the life of Jesus Christ.
Luke also consulted “servants of the word”–that is, those who had already written down accounts of Jesus Christ’s life. Most likely he’s referring to John Mark, who wrote the first gospel, a quickly written account that concentrated on the activity of Jesus Christ.
Not only did Luke talk to eyewitnesses and servants of the Word, but he also carefully investigated everything. Luke checked, rechecked, and triple-checked everything. He carefully researched the facts of this gospel. And his gospel is extremely detailed. Now you would expect that from a doctor, wouldn’t you; to include the minute details?
Let me give an illustration of how detailed Luke’s gospel is. Take the appearance of John the Baptist. Mark’s gospel says it this way, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness.” Period. That’s a quick and to the point account, isn’t it? Now look how Luke describes it: “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness” (Luke 3:1-2). Now that’s detail, isn’t it? That kind of detail gives us great confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible. Christianity is built on historical fact. Aren’t you glad of that? That’s why Peter wrote these words: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Reigniting Your Passion for Christ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.