This article was first published on our church webite here
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:1-3)
“Knowledge is indispensable to Christian life and service. If we do not use the mind that God has given us, we condemn ourselves to spiritual superficiality and cut ourselves off from many of the riches of God’s grace” (John Stott)
In our culture where “fake news” is bandied around and we dismiss experts at the drop of a hat because, well, they are saying things that we don’t want to hear, we need to recover a love for an appreciation of facts or maybe a better word is proof. Notice how Dr Luke opens his second volume on the works of Jesus with this amazing phrase; “he [that’s Jesus] presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive”. This is courtroom drama at it’s best! Jesus wants to ensure that all of his new followers are thoroughly convinced that what he promised about his death and resurrection actually took place! Christianity is not a blow-your-brains-out-faith or a leap-in-the-dark faith. No, Christianity has always been rooted in historical facts that can be verified and proven! The Apostle Paul reinforces this point when he writes to the church in Corinth and says “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living…” (1 Cor 15:3-6)
So why is this so important for you and me today, some two thousand years later?
Firstly, the convincing proofs or historical nature of our faith should give us fresh confidence in a world of mushy relativism (or whatever I believe is all that really matters). Our faith is rooted in scripture and history (something outside of ourselves)! Jesus did actually come to earth, die on a physical cross and rise physically from a grave! So then, if these facts are true, then what do they say about God, sin and my need for a saviour?
Secondly, it rings an important warning bell; that truth really does matter in how we come to know and understand God. God has chosen to reveal himself to us in his word, the Bible. This is true and so we need to take the convincing proofs of scripture and allow this to shape how we see God, ourselves and the world around us. This can be challenging in a world dominated by what I feel and my opinion.
So as we start out on this new series on Jesus’ work through his church, let’s commit ourselves to be people who live by the convincing proofs laid out in scripture! Shall we do that?
Dear Father, at the start of this new devotional series, I want to commit myself afresh to living by the convincing proofs of scripture and not the moving sands of my opinion and my feelings. Would you help me to anchor my life onto the rock which is your word. Amen