In the Gospel According to Luke, the third book of the New Testament, the writer jumps right in saying:
Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.
That’s how Luke begins his story of Jesus.
He’s not just telling a story. He’s writing a letter to his friend, Theophilus, and he wants his letter to bring assurance to Theophilus about the veracity of the story of Jesus.
He doesn’t just want Theophilus to know. Luke wants him to KNOW. It’s like Han Solo and Princess Leia.
When Leia says, “I love you!” and Han replies, “I know” he’s not just saying that he’s heard about her affection. He’s actually experienced it first-hand. He knows.
That’s what everyone seems to want these days—assurance and certainty. That’s true from products we buy in the store to the faith we so desperately search for.
We want to believe in something. We want a higher power and a grand purpose to life. But sometimes it seems hard to choose from all of the religious alternatives in the world. What assurance is there? What certainty do we have that we’re not being bamboozled?
This is what Luke is talking about—a Han Solo kind of knowing. He says, “I’ve investigated and talked to eyewitnesses.” Jesus isn’t a fabrication—a grand illusion—he’s real.
I’ve actually had conversations with self-proclaimed atheists who thought Jesus was a myth. When I talked about non-Christian historical evidence for Jesus, they’re stunned.
Jesus was real. The testimony is valid and reliable. That means we’re forced to make a decision.
If Jesus was real then we have to decide how we will respond to his words.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
I have heard the stories about Jesus. I believe they are reliable and dependable. I believe they are true. My hope is that you hear the stories and believe, too.
I hope you’ll stick around as we go through this Gospel together. Take time to let the stories sink in. Examine them. Examine your beliefs. What do you believe about Jesus? Why do you believe it? If I’m wrong, you’ve lost nothing but a little time. If I’m right, this will change your life.
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
We’re going to have some reflection and response time. We have two songs that connect thematically with what we’ve been talking about. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.
Our first song is called Lord, I Need You. The chorus is simple and proclaims:
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
As you listen, think about the things we say we “need” – what would happen if those things were stripped away from us?
Now ask yourself, “Do I have a need for God? What would happen if God were removed from this world?”
Once we realize that humanity DOES have a need for God we have to ask, “What am I gonna do with this realization?”
In our second song, the songwriter cries out:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for You alone
Awake my soul
The realization of our need for God should lead us to ask for Him to stir our souls to life!(Tweet this)
Do you feel spiritually dead and dry? Ask the Creator of Heaven and Earth to awaken your soul and revive your spirit.
– What do I believe about my need for God?
– What do I believe about Jesus?
– How am I willing to let those beliefs influence my life?
MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, read The Apostles’ Creed. (You can read our explanation of it here)
– Think about your own beliefs of disbelief and the reasons why you do or don’t believe.
– Talk with someone (a friend, a pastor, anyone) about this message and your response to it.
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