Who's Your Theophilus?
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Do you have a Theophilus in your life? Maybe you have several. You may even have more than you think you do. You are no doubt wondering what in the world I am talking about! Who is this Theophilus anyway?
In the first few verses of the gospel of Luke, we see Dr. Luke was writing down the gospel for Theophilus. Notice verses 1-4:
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
We can learn quite a lot from these introductory verses that are instructive for us today. First, Luke mentions that many others had written down their version of the story of Jesus. I don’t know who all he was referring to as we only have four gospels in the Bible. But it is encouraging to know that others were doing all they could to tell others about Jesus and His message for this world. Maybe they were writing letters to their family or friends. Maybe they were writing down stuff on scrolls for their family to be able to refer to later. It doesn’t really give more details other than to say many others had already been writing down the story of Jesus.
Second, I love the fact that Luke was not a trained theologian either. He was a doctor who had been with Jesus from the very beginning and he had been impacted by Jesus and His impact on not only his personal life but the lives of those he touched. He had a story to tell and he wanted to be able to tell it.
Finally, he had someone special that he wanted to share the gospel with. His name was Theophilus. That name means lover of God. So, he was ready to tell someone that was certainly open to hearing the gospel and to hear about spiritual things. Luke then goes on after these introductory verses to write the story of Jesus under the inspiration of the Holy Spirt and his story is one that has impacted our world for centuries.
So back to the question: Who is your Theophilus?
Who are the people in your life that God is showing you each week that are ready to hear your testimony about Jesus and his impact on your life? Who are the people in your life that may have an opening to hear the wonderful words of life found in the gospel? This is something that everyone can doQ It is not just the pastor’s job. It is something that we all can share as we share the impact that Jesus has had on our lives.