Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why Do I Need To Investigate the Christian Faith?

Luke 1

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled 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.

Today we begin the gospel of St. Luke, the evangelist. The gospel of Luke is the first of a two volume set, Luke-Acte. Luke, a physician, went on to travel with Paul. He accompanied Paul in his days of imprisonment. He was probably with him in his last days as it says in Colossians 4:14, "Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, sends his greetings." Many people think Luke was a Gentile, which makes sense since Paul's purpose was to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Luke's purpose is clearly laid out in the first three verses. One, there were many who had written down accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Second, the most reliable accounts were passed on by the eyewitnesses, whose validity is based on their presence in the events. Luke's purpose in writing this gospel was to create a reliable account for a person named "Theophilous". His name means "friend of God". Scholars do not have agreement on who this person was. Some think he was patron that supported Paul, possibly financially. Others think he might have been a Roman official.

Whatever the case, I like that the Bible includes four different gospels, each with a unique purpose, style and audience. I like the idea of providing evidence for the truth of the Gospel. At the end of the day Christians believe in a person, Jesus, who came in human history and lived among us. So while faith is a gift given to us by God, it is good for Christians to investigate why they believe. Not only for their own confidence in their own faith, but also as we talk to those outside the faith.

So as we journey through the gospel of Luke, take up the challenge to look at your faith and belief in a more critical and thoughtful way. Then, when someone asks you "why" you believe, you can give them a credible answer. After all, there is nothing we have to hide in our faith, there are no secrets. Everything is out in the open, so each person can examine whether Jesus is the real deal for themselves.

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