Theophilus means "lover of God." We hope all Christians will be lovers of God. Luke is writing to someone who wants to know about the details of Jesus' life. Luke got them all secondhand -- just as we do -- but Luke had met some who had firsthand knowledge of Jesus, and he is reporting their experiences right up to the day Jesus was taken back up to heaven. They gave convincing proof that Jesus suffered and then rose from the dead and then he appeared to the disciples (students) who had now become apostles (missionaries) because they now had a message to proclaim.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.