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Evidence Based Faith

Luke 1:1-4
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye-witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (NIV)

How do you know that what you are told is true? Luke was a physician, trained to discover the truth, expert in taking medical histories and comparing them with reports from other members of the family. After Jesus ascended into heaven, many people wrote about His life and ministry. But which accounts were authentic? Luke, who also helped Paul, applied his training in literature and science to the task of evaluating the many reports about Jesus - finding the truth from eye witnesses, and writing ... so that we can be certain about what we have been taught.

This was no quick newspaper report. It must have taken many months of patient research; with careful questioning and note-taking after all the contact-tracing and travel, comparing many manuscripts against the first-hand narratives of those who were there at the time. Witnesses would have included Mary, the disciples and probably at least two of the Jewish ruling council. Of course, the 'Jesus-story' extended far beyond His earthly ministry, and Part 2 of Luke's book is now known as the Acts of the Apostles. Both were addressed to Theophilus who was a senior official, or lawyer; either to assist his personal discipleship or to be able to stand up for Christians in court.

Jesus has always been controversial. Today, those who love Him need to be secure in the truth they believe; those who are seeking need evidence; and those who want to reduce Jesus to being one wise teacher among many, need to know that there is eye witness evidence of God who became a man. Luke's account has the credibility we need, including intimate details of events leading to the birth of Jesus. Believing in Jesus starts by understanding who Jesus is, why He came and how He is qualified to be your Saviour (see www.crosscheck.org.uk to know more). That information does not come from inside us but from external sources we can rely on. So Luke's Gospel is just right for the seeker and the sceptic, as it will provide solid evidence for making a decision to follow Jesus; also it gives many good reasons to affirm believers in their faith. As we study each verse, it will provide wonderful insights for family, friends and colleagues who are wondering if what they have heard about Jesus is true. Do share it with them, and discuss it in your workplace fellowship or prayer group.

Father God. Thank You for Luke's gospel about Jesus. Thank You that I can rely on what is written, and base my faith on sound eye-witness evidence. Help me to be able to share this truth with others who are seeking Jesus, and to find fresh confidence in my faith as each new page unfolds fresh wonders about my Saviour. In His precious Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams