Setting Everything in Order
According to the Eyewitnesses
Luke declares in his opening statement (verses 1:4) that there are many accounts of the things reported to have happened concerning Jesus. These accounts have been handed down among the Christians.
However, He sees a need for a thorough investigation of the various stories in order to confirm their veracity and to put them in order. He states that he will seek out and interview the eyewitnesses of the things that have been reported.
He does this in order that Theophilus may know for certain the truth of what has been reported, written, and handed down among those who are "lovers of God."
This last phrase "lovers of God" is a translation of the name "Theophilus." Theo is the greek for God and Philus is the singular word for lover.
The fact that the Gospel writer intended to investigate the facts about Jesus indicates that eyewitnesses are alive and can be interviewed. These interviews will cover everything from "the beginning".
He then reports the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. It is a story about two older people who are childless, get a visit from the archangel Gabriel and then conceive a child who will be known as John the Baptizer.
If we consider that he is investigating this event some forty or fifty years after it occured, we may wonder if Zachariah or Elizabeth are still alive. If not, who might be an eyewitness since their son John was beheaded by King Herod?
The second account concerning Jesus starts at verse 26. It is the story of a young woman named Mary who is visited by the archangel Gabriel and told that she will miraculously conceive a son and call him Jesus.
After the visit, Mary goes to "her relative" (verse 36) and stays with her three months. Since Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth was already six months pregnant, Mary's stay was probably until John was born.
The narrative of John's birth comes next, starting at verse 57.
It is a story filled with detail, including the dialog of Elizabeth and the neighbors. It concludes with a long quotation of Zachariah's song of praise.
The birth of Jesus starts Chapter 2. Exact in detail, it includes the place, the time. the circumstances, the witnesses and the surrounding events.
Concluding the opening chapters Luke gives us a very big hint as to his eyewitness.
In chapter 2, verse 17-20:
When they had seen him (Jesus), They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Amazing to think that Luke gives us the eyewitness testimony of Mary the mother of Jesus.
All the others were dead including: Elizabeth and Zacchariah, their son John, Mary's husband Joseph, and Jesus. It is possible that the other characters such as the shepherds and innkeeper or neighbors may have been alive. But they are not named and how could Luke vouch for the veracity of their testimony?
So, here our minds read and our souls hear the voice of Mary, as she tells from the beginning the story of the things that have happened and been reported concerning Jesus.
Mary, Mother of God?