Evidence Based Faith
How do you know that what you are told about Jesus is true? The author of this gospel, and the Book of the Acts, was Luke. He was a physician (Colossians 4:14), trained to discover the truth, expert in taking medical histories and comparing them with reports of similar diseases. 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 eyewitnesses, 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. He carefully questioned eyewitnesses who had met Jesus, seen the miracles and heard His teaching. Then Luke, who took careful notes during all the contact-tracing, compared many manuscripts against the first-hand narratives of those who were there at the time. Witnesses would have included Mary the Mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38), the disciples and probably at least two of the Jewish ruling council (Luke 23:50-51; Acts 5:34). 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, perhaps Paul himself, in court.
Jesus has always been controversial. In every generation, 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 eyewitness evidence of God who became a man (2 Peter 1:16). 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 (www.crosscheck.org.uk). That information does not come from inside us but from God who sent Jesus – and He made sure that there was more than one witness so that we can rely on the evidence. 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. It also 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.
© Dr Paul Adams