Monday, March 9, 2015
the history of Jesus
...it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
Luke's prologue to his gospel is a strong purpose statement. It is compelling. It informs us that those who penned the gospels had a certain frame of mind. Luke in particular took care in the compilation of his material. He writes not as a story teller nor as a collector of trivia. He writes as a historian with a purpose at getting to the facts. He has collected the pertinent facts for some time. His goal is accuracy and certainty. He did not collect hearsay evidence or dubious reports of rumors. He claims that his gospel can be known to be the clear, certain facts about Jesus.
So when the Jesus Seminar went on its liberal literary search for the "facts" about Jesus sifting through the gospels, they should have just stopped here at the prologue and read Luke's gospel. Their claim that the gospels are historically suspect reject's Luke's own method in the writing. To assume that the gospels cannot be trusted because they contain supernatural content ultimately turns away from Jesus Himself. Of course they contain miraculous content. Jesus is God and does the miraculous! That is sort of the point!
Luke was compelled to write out his gospel after much careful research into Jesus. He collected accounts from the apostles themselves. He knew the men that were closest to Jesus. And he gathered their insights into a gospel narrative that set out from the very beginning to be an accurate history of the things that were said and done by Jesus of Nazareth.
For thirty-five years now I have been regularly reading and reflecting on the gospels. I like to stay close to Jesus and the very best way that I know to do this is to study His life and teaching in the four gospels. I can confidently trust, as Theophilus could, that what I read in the gospel narratives are indeed the history of Jesus. And in that confidence I follow my Master.