It’s worth trusting things that are true.
Passage: Luke 1:1-4
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
In a recent high-school RI class, I asked a group of young people how we can know if something is historically true. They came up with some great answers: Are there written records? (Eyewitnesses and secondary sources?) Is there archaeological evidence? And what are the after-effects?
We put the Bible to the “is it true?” test. Are there written records? Well, as one kid put it, “dah, the Bible is a written record.” But importantly, the written records check out. This passage from Luke gives us some idea that the account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has been recorded by a careful historian. Others have been written by eyewitnesses (eg. 1 John 1:1-4). Records outside the Bible match the Bible. For example, Tacitus (a Roman historian) writes that “Christus (Jesus)… suffered the extreme penalty (crucifixion) during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate…” and that Christians are named after “Christus.” Likewise, Josephus (a Roman-Jewish historian) refers to the “brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James,” and the imprisonment of John the Baptist. So, written records? Check.
Is there archaeological evidence? I’m no archaeology diva. But I’m glad others are. You could start exploring the evidence with a resource like The Archaeology of the Bible by James K. Hoffmeier. Without being an expert, I feel safe in saying: there’s enough. Check.
What are the after-effects? My students replied, “people still believe in Jesus today.” “The church still exists.” And perhaps my favourite: “well, we’d see that the world is how the Bible says it is: still broken by sin and waiting for Jesus to save it.”
I feel confident in asking you to consider that the Bible is true.
But. I haven’t always thought that way. My parents taught me about the Bible since before I can remember. For a long time, I ignored it. It wasn’t until I was in late high school that I started looking for answers to the emptiness I was confronted with in my own heart and in the world around me. And I found a shocking and life-changing answer in the Bible: my life was empty because my heart had rejected God and I was cut off from him. But he let his own Son, Jesus, be cut off – allowed him to be emptied even to death – so I could be brought back, filled with his life.
Luke writes so “that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” If you’re not certain, keep searching. If the Bible is true, it’s worth trusting, and its message could change your life.
Head: Are you confident that the message of the Bible is true? What other information do you need to have “certainty”?
Heart: What place does the Bible have in your heart? Do you long for it? Do you turn to it for comfort, wisdom and joy? Or do you look elsewhere?
Hands: What steps could you take to know the Bible better, and to take its message into your heart?
Prayer: God, Thank you for being so good in letting us have access to the Bible, so we can hear you speak the life-changing message of your Son Jesus. If we’re not sure if it’s true, please help us to know where to keep searching, and give us your Spirit to show us the truth. If we are certain of its truth, please give us a hunger and thirst for your Word, and help our hearts to run to your Word and not to other things to fill us. We pray this because we long to know You more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: This I Believe (The Creed)
Mel Dehnert- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- South Bank