Lover of God… Servant of God…

One blesses the other and both bless us

by Derrel Emmerson

“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” Acts 1:1-2
This is the second time we have seen a book of the Bible addressed to Theophilus. The first was the gospel of Luke to whom he wrote about the life and teachings of Jesus. Now, Luke is addressing another book to Theophilus. He will give the account of the beginning of the church and the impact the risen Lord Jesus Christ had upon His followers. The former book told about Jesus whom the Father sent. This book will tell about the people whom Jesus sent to bring the message of His life and present work in the world.

The name Theophilus means “lover of God.” Was this man real or was the name a literary device? There is a debate about that. However, most likely he was real. It was a common name and Theolphilus the enquirer lives up to his name in wanting to know about Jesus. We can be thankful for this enquirer who had a love for God. He wanted to know and this simple human longing made it possible for us to have these incredible books by Luke.

Luke’s stories are rich in detail. He was an observer. He records Jesus’ and the apostles’ contacts with people in detail. He sees Jesus and the church in action. Luke’s Gospel is symbolized in Church history by the Ox. This is because Luke depicted our Lord and the early church as servants, burden bearers, and he informs us of their activity. What can we expect from a man who himself was a physician, a healer of ills and a helper? Service was what motivated him.

So today we refer to two personages for whom we can be thankful. One is a lover of God and the other a servant of God. One blesses the other and both bless us. That is the way God makes us all. Each of us is different, having our own perspective, and unique needs.

As we come together with others we have the wonderful privilege of blessing one another and magnifying our influence by interaction. The person who enquires blesses the one who has something to give and in asking blesses the giver in a certain way. The person who has something to give blesses the enquirer and receives in a special way.

In responding to one another Luke and Theophilus became representative of people through the ages. They had a rich friendship but we gain from it. We will do well to find such friendships because they are the way we enlarge our influence.

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