EPISODE #8: Hoping to Find Faith —Today we look at Luke’s story of Jesus. We’re invited to enter this story with our questions, but also with our love. This is a book filled with holy tension between faith and doubt, between love and investigation, hope and fear. We read hoping to find faith.
Before Luke gets to the birth story about Jesus, he gives this quick introduction to “most excellent Theophilus.” We don’t know whether Theophilus was Luke’s friend in real life, or whether Theophilus—which means “lover of God” from the Greek words theos (God) and philo (love)—was a symbolic name, a name Luke uses to indicate that he is writing this book for anyone who loves God and wants to know more about Jesus. I lean towards the latter interpretation, and it’s important either way to recognize that Luke is writing with the assumption that his readers are what one of my friends calls “God-positive.” They aren’t necessarily Christians. They don’t necessarily believe in Jesus. But they love God.
Faith, Doubt, and Confusion
At the same time, Luke makes it clear that just because people love God doesn’t mean they don’t need to think about things or examine and investigate and question. In other words, Luke seems pretty clear that the stories he is about to tell might be hard to believe, might prompt question and doubt and confusion. So he has taken it upon himself to ask those questions, to see whether these miraculous and hopeful events happened the way people have been saying they did. And he’s here to offer us what he learned.
Luke didn’t employ the scientific method. He didn’t know that babies are formed when a sperm meets an egg. But he did know that babies don’t come from virgins. In other words, although his questions about what we now call the virgin birth might have been different in their details, it wasn’t as if people believed in virgin births back in the day and now we don’t. People have never…
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