Luke was a curious man. He wanted to talk with people who knew Jesus personally to find out more about him. What is your opinion of Jesus? Luke’s report may be enlightening for you… .
Getting Started: Your Story. Before we dig into the Gospel of Luke, it’s important to reflect on our own stories in relation to Jesus. All of us, no matter what our backgrounds and experiences, have a story about our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus. Even those of us from non-religious or non-Christian backgrounds have some thoughts and opinions about Jesus. They may be warm, indifferent or angry opinions. That’s okay. We want to establish an accepting, open atmosphere where we listen to each other and grow together.
Take some time now to share your own stories or thoughts about Jesus and your relationship with him at this point in your life. (Note: you can give significant time to this sharing as the rest of this first study is relatively short.)
1. Turn to Luke’s own introduction to his Gospel, Luke 1:1-4. Have someone read the passage as everyone follows along. From these four verses, what do you learn about the Gospel of Luke? What do they tell us about its historical accuracy?
2. Trace through these verses how the “events that were fulfilled among us” came to be written down into “orderly accounts.” What process did the writers go through?
3. Who do you think some of these “eyewitnesses” might be? What does Luke say about the others who have written accounts?
4. In verse 3 Luke tells us he wrote to Theophilus. What can we learn about Theophilus from the text? Why did Luke write to him?
5. How do you think Luke’s emphasis on talking to eyewitnesses and writing an orderly account will help you as you study his Gospel in the coming weeks?
6. Suppose Luke just came in the door of your room and told you excitedly about his investigation. He’s been talking to eyewitnesses about Jesus and putting together an orderly account. What would you like him to investigate, to find out about Jesus? What should he find out from the eyewitnesses? Share some of the questions you come up with, and keep them in mind in the coming weeks to see if Luke gives you any answers.
In Closing: What is it that you would most like to learn or experience about Jesus in the coming weeks? (You may want to spend some time in prayer as a group asking Jesus to reveal himself to you in deep and powerful ways.)
Many thanks to those who gave valuable feedback in the writing and editing of these studies: the Iowa staff team led by Lindsay Olesberg, Beth Krysl, Judy Johnson, Fred Neubert, Shelley Soceka, Glen Ewart, Nancy Fox, Suzy Gaeddert, Scott Eddlemon, Ann Beyerlein, Bob Wolniak, Paula Esealuka, John Seiders and Donna Snow. Special thanks to Kathy Burrows (design) and Jeff Yourison (editor).-Bob Grahmann