"...[I]t seemed good to me [Luke] also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things about which you have been informed (κατηχέω)." - Luke 1:3-4
As Luke begins his gospel, he explains to Theophilus that he will be writing an orderly account based on eyewitness testimony. The purpose of the gospel is for Theophilus to have certainty. Theophilus is probably a legal investigator working for the Roman emperor Nero. Theophilus's job is to brief Nero about Paul's case and make a legal recommendation. Strangely though, Luke immediately begins to relate a series of supernatural events--the appearance of angels and two miraculous births (see Luke 1-2).
It is striking how quickly Luke jumps into relating supernatural events. If he wants Theophilus to believe his gospel, shouldn't he tiptoe around miracles so that the story sounds more credible? But Luke doesn't do this at all. After a thorough investigation, Luke sincerely believes the angels did in fact appear to Zechariah and Mary, and that Elizabeth and Mary became pregnant supernaturally. Luke is unafraid to relate what actually happened, whether there are miracles involved or not. He is not biased against the supernatural, as many are today. We see here how closely the Christian faith intertwines with supernatural events. If we remove supernatural events from the Bible in a foolish attempt to make it sound more credible to people today, no Christian faith in fact remains. As Christians, we are by definition supernaturalists. We must not be afraid to assert that the supernatural events described in the Bible actually happened in real space-time history.
Father, thank you that our faith is not based on fantasy but on fact. Forgive us for our latent atheism, naturalism, and materialism. Help us to be open-minded to the supernatural side of life. May we believe what the Bible says about the interrelation of the supernatural with history and science and not attempt to dismiss it away. Thank you that we can trust the inspired, inerrant Scriptures in matters of faith and practice, but also in matters of history and science. In Yeshua's name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman