“So that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.”

This gospel reading presents us the first four verses of Luke as a prelude to the opening of Jesus’ public ministry (Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21).  Luke, in his prologue, addresses a certain Theophilus, telling him that the writings he is presenting him have been compiled after Luke’s own personal investigation of the events surrounding Jesus for the purpose stated above.  Moving ahead to chapter four, we are then told of the initial reaction to Jesus: that His fame is spreading due to His teaching.  Jesus makes His way to His hometown of Nazareth where He attends synagogue and reads aloud a passage from Isaiah (Is 61:1-2) that speaks of one who is to come who has the Spirit of the Lord and who will do wondrous things.  Finishing the passage, Jesus declares that it is fulfilled in the hearing of those present.  It appears that Luke went through much time and trouble to investigate and chronicle the story of Jesus’ life and ministry.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit we know that we can trust this writing, being secure in the fact that Luke and all New Testament authors “told us the honest truth about Jesus” (Dei Verbum, 19).  Being certain of the teachings is one thing, following them is quite another.  Luke emphasizes the veracity of what he writes to confirm Theophilus in what he had already learned and believed about Jesus.  Luke does the same for us.   We can be certain that Scripture gives us the Truth (capitalized since all of the Word [Jn 1:1] is about the truth, which is Jesus [Jn 14:6]).  No one wants to be lied to and no one want to live a lie.  In divine revelation we have all truth.  To the extent we conform ourselves to God’s Word we live in the truth.  Christ’s words to Saul during his conversion experience are ours to take to heart: “It is hard for you to kick against the goad” (Acts 26:14) — it is futile, even harmful, and potentially eternally deadly to live outside what we know inside is the truth.  But we know the truth will set us free (Jn 8:32); making us truly free (like God)  from the enslavement of sin (Jn 8:34).

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