Christ’s birth is true (Lk. 1: 1-4)
This is the time which is commonly called “the days of Advent.” It’s the weeks prior to
Christmas that we call the time of Advent. Originally it means that we focus on the coming
of the Christ. During that time we could consider the prophecies in the OT announcing
Christ’s coming. We could meditate on the meaning and importance of His coming.
Whatever focus we have during these weeks of the Advent, however, its purpose should
be our preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth! Now that purpose may well be reiterated
and re-emphasized at this time! As you are well aware, when we speak of preparations
for Christmas we think of the hype, the shopping, the baking, and the presents,
to mention a few of the features that characterize this time. I urge you, however, not to
be caught up in this Christmas mood and merriment; rather let’s focus on the true meaning
of Christmas! Let’s prepare ourselves for Christmas in the true spirit of Christ’s Advent,
i.e. Christ’s coming into this world!
An important question you might have regarding this meaning of Christ’s coming
dear listener could be: How can I be sure that the Christian faith is really true? That everything
I have heard about Jesus Christ has truly happened? That’s a good question, an
honest question, which requires a good and honest answer. It’s very important, then, to
listen to someone who spoke to the eye- and ear-witnesses, to the people who did see,
hear, and meet Him! Well, dear listener, with the gospel according to Luke we have such
an account of someone who went all out in doing research regarding the things that
happened before, during, and after the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ! He spoke to the
people involved, interviewed Jesus’ relatives, apostles, disciples, hearers, and witnesses
personally! He ensured that we do not need to be ashamed of the gospel, knowing that
the accounts can stand close scrutiny and criticism. He wrote an account that can be
used very profitably for the purpose of answering questions of people who still doubt,
who need more convincing, persuading, etc. During these weeks of Advent, therefore, I
wish to look closely to the first chapters of his account, so as to confirm you in the truth of
the gospel as Luke had it verified by his research!
At this time I wish to invite you, yes even urge you, to find yourself a Bible and read
along with me in the gospel according to Luke. When you read through it you will be
struck by the vivid descriptions of the events recorded in it. Luke was a master story-teller!
Then you will find the first four verses of his account an exception to that overall impression
of Luke’s account. It’s important though, that we don’t skip these verses and right
away get into the story part. What we find in these opening sentences we might find to2
day in the preface, or prologue, or on the back of the cover of a book; namely, to express
the author’s intention with the book, and his method and approach to the project. Luke
wants to present it as a challenge to the reader, the way publishers do today: this is a
must-read! This book tells you exactly how it is; you’ll find in it, black on white, what
happened and how it happened and with whom it happened! This is true history! Then
Luke mentions that he is aware of others having reported on the events, yet he wants to
affirm to us that he has also taken the approach of the historiographers of his days. Luke
writes the history of salvation! That’s very important for people who want to know who
He was, the Lord Jesus Christ, what He said, and did, and why!
So what I am speaking to you about dear listeners is gospel truth indeed! Thus Jesus
was born, this is how He died, and it is true that He rose from the dead! We know that
for sure, for a fact! How? How does Luke know it so assuredly? He wrote it accurately
so that you would believe; that you can do so because it is true! Luke tells us that he did
so initially with a view to a very personal call to faith and repentance, to the most excellent
Theophilus. He was a very honorable man of the intelligent middle-class at Rome,
who was able to verify all that Luke has recorded. The Holy Spirit, then, used Luke’s account
to convince this Theophilus (a friend of God, his name denotes!) to become a Godlover
in Jesus Christ. The holy gospel can be and must be believed, because it’s true in all
its facts and it has happened as revealed, as it was also researched by Luke! It was of
eminent importance to him that what he recorded was indeed true and the gospel truth!
Well, dear listener, Luke doesn’t just suffice by saying that he had heard the stories,
but he writes “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us.” It’s not a half
story, but it’s the complete and full truth about the life, suffering, death, and resurrection
of the Lord Jesus Christ! It’s God’s work that Luke describes, God’s plan that was
fulfilled in the facts he records! The entire series of events and experiences, including
Christ’s resurrection, His ascension, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the spreading
of the Christian Church, were fulfilment of God’s prophecies! Those who told these
stories and shared their accounts thus far, Luke calls ‘servants of the word,’ people who
had been ear- and eye-witnesses from the beginning! Luke went to the people themselves,
who knew the Lord Jesus, were involved with Him in one way or another. He went to
the actual places where He lived and worked. He investigated everything from the beginning!
He involved interviews most likely of people like Zechariah and Elisabeth,
Mary, the shepherds, to hear the stories about John in the womb, about the angels, etc.
Indeed, in Luke’s account we find information we can’t read anywhere else! That was
important for Theophilus, for future generations, and for us today! You can’t have a
stronger witness than that! Their testimony is proof!
After Luke had so done his research and completed his investigation, dear listeners,
he sat down to write an orderly account. Thus he presents to us, to you and me, the gospel
as a reliable account of what truly happened and what has been investigated meticulously!
Yes, Luke may present it as such, including in this account the stories about the
miracles Jesus performed, even raising people from the dead, also reporting in detail
that Jesus Himself has died and rose from the dead, which was seen and confirmed,
verified and reported by many! Thus God incited and inspired Luke to go to work in this
way, in order that we may believe! Yes, this makes the gospel according to Luke such a
wonderful book for us today, since Luke wrote to convince, “so that you may know the
certainty of the things you have been taught.” Of course, then we realize that just the
historical facts are not enough for us to come to faith. We don’t believe in the stories but
we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the stories! Then these stories certainly are
the basis for this faith! It is my prayer, therefore, dear listeners, that the Holy Spirit may
use this account to touch your hearts today! Yes, I pray that you will come to church, which
is the workshop of the Holy Spirit, that you may hear the explanation of the scriptures and
the proclamation of the gospel with your own ears!