Preaching Through Luke: The Gospel as Catechism

By James C. Goodloe IV

Luke wrote this Gospel so “that you [Theophilus] may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught [i.e., catechesis]” (1:4). It proceeds with a barrage of questions.

The first comes from Zechariah: “How shall I know?” (1:18). This is a question of knowledge. The angel Gabriel answers that we shall know by the word of God (1:19).

The second comes from Mary: “How will this be?” (1:34). This is a question of agency, of how the Son of God can become human. Gabriel answers that it will be by the power of God (1:35).

The third comes from Elizabeth: “Why me?” (1:43). Why should the gospel of Jesus Christ come to her? Mary answers that it has to do with God’s choice, election, mercy, and salvation (1:47-55).

The fourth has to do with John: “What then will this child be?” (1:66). Zechariah answers that he will be a prophet (1:76-79). John is not the Christ, but he will go before the Christ.

Thus begins the catechism according to Luke, a series of questions in order that we may have certainty concerning the things we have been taught.

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