Based on Luke 1:1-4
In the three-year cycle of daily readings developed jointly with our brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), our intention was to provide a plan for reading through the entire Bible, with two Scripture readings and a psalm each day. Our commitment, together in the NALC, LCMS and LCC is to encourage reading of the Bible, knowledge of Holy Scripture and biblical literacy among pastors and laity alike!
We have now completed Isaiah and Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians and have turned to Micah and the Gospel of Luke.
Surely, many who are making use of these simple devotions will be familiar with Luke’s Gospel. For those who are not so familiar, it may be helpful to point out that Luke was a physician and well educated, writing competently in Greek, in perfect style and form. Luke was a companion of Paul and was surely associated with the first disciples and Jesus’ own family. He is traditionally considered the writer of the first icon, of Mary, mother of the Lord.
Writing for those already in the Church, both Jewish and Gentile converts, Luke’s Gospel is intended to “compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us…having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.” Why did Luke want to write this orderly account? “That you may have certainty concerning the things which you have been taught.” Luke continues his orderly account in his second book, “The Acts of the Apostles.” The Gospel of Luke presents the birth, Baptism, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Luke begins Acts with the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Ascension and Pentecost.
What is always interesting to the reader of Luke’s Gospel, is his intended reader, Theophilus. Although no one knows certainly about the identity of Theophilus, most believe he was a Roman of rank and position, as he is addressed as “most excellent,” a formal title of respect. Luke intends to provide his orderly narrative account of the life of the Lord Jesus as “catechesis,” teaching of the faith in such a way as to provide certainty, faith and trust in the reader.
At the same time, as Theophilus literally translated means, “lover of God,” it is possible that Luke was writing to every lover of God, in his day and ours. In this way, you and I may be the intended recipient of Luke’s Gospel, that we, too, may have certainty concerning these things.
Prayer: Lord God, help us, every day, to be Theophilus — loving you, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Lenten response: Read the first and last chapters of Luke and Acts to gain a broader view.
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1:1 This is the Lord’s message that came to Micah of Moresheth during the time of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
2Listen, all you nations!
Pay attention, all inhabitants of earth!
The Sovereign Lord will act as a witness against you;
the Lord will accuse you from his majestic palace.
3Look, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling place!
He will descend and march on the earth’s mountaintops!
4The mountains will crumble beneath him,
and the valleys will split apart
like wax before a fire,
like water dumped down a steep slope.
5All this is because of Jacob’s rebellion
and the sins of the nation of Israel.
And just what is Jacob’s rebellion?
Isn’t it Samaria’s doings?
And what is Judah’s sin?
Isn’t it Jerusalem’s doings?
6“I will turn Samaria into a heap of ruins in an open field,
into a place for planting vineyards.
I will dump the rubble of her walls down into the valley
and lay bare her foundations.
7All her carved idols will be smashed to pieces;
all her metal cult statues will be destroyed by fire.
I will make a waste heap of all her images.
Since she gathered the metal as a prostitute collects her wages,
the idols will become a prostitute’s wages again.”(NET Bible)
57:1 For the music director, according to the al-tashcheth style; a prayer of David, written when he fled from Saul into the cave.
Have mercy on me, O God. Have mercy on me.
For in you I have taken shelter.
In the shadow of your wings I take shelter
until trouble passes.
2I cry out for help to God Most High,
to the God who vindicates me.
3May he send help from heaven and deliver me
from my enemies who hurl insults. (Selah)
May God send his loyal love and faithfulness.
4I am surrounded by lions;
I lie down among those who want to devour me,
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
5Rise up above the sky, O God.
May your splendor cover the whole earth.
6They have prepared a net to trap me;
I am discouraged.
They have dug a pit for me.
They will fall into it. (Selah)
7I am determined, O God. I am determined.
I will sing and praise you.
8Awake, my soul!
Awake, O stringed instrument and harp!
I will wake up at dawn.
9I will give you thanks before the nations, O Lord.
I will sing praises to you before foreigners.
10For your loyal love extends beyond the sky,
and your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
11Rise up above the sky, O God.
May your splendor cover the whole earth.(NET Bible)
1:1 Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning. 3So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know for certain the things you were taught.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Luther again speaks of the infallibility of Scripture in Contra malignum J. Eckii judicium M. Lutheri Defensio, which left the press on September 30, 1519. In the preface he refers to the statement of Augustine, “I have learned to ascribe this honor (namely the infallibility) only to books which are termed canonical, so that I confidently believe that not one of their authors erred,” and continues, “but the other authors, no matter how distinguished by great sanctity and teaching, I read in this way, that I do not regard them as true because they themselves judged in this wise but in so far as they could convince me through the authority of the canonical writings or other clear deductions.” (17)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.