Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Do you believe?

If there’s one gift I could give you this Christmas, it would be this: that you would know the certainty of what you have been taught about Jesus Christ.

That Jesus really was born, really did live here on earth, really did die for you, really did rise again, and really will come back again for those who put their faith in Him.

This is a gift that a doctor named Luke wanted to give to his friend, Theophilus.

So Luke undertook a careful investigation of the claims about Christ, interviewing eyewitnesses who saw the living, breathing Christ when He walked here on the earth. Luke traveled with the Apostle Paul and recorded first-hand what Paul and the other apostles said, and did, in the name of of their risen Lord.

When Luke finished his lengthy letter, a letter we can still read today, he sent it to his friend Theophilus. We know it as the Gospel According to Luke, and we can read in the opening paragraph the purpose for which Luke wrote his letter:

“Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:2-4).

Luke knew that Theophilus had already been taught about Jesus Christ. But Luke wanted his friend to know the certainty of these things. It’s the same reason the Apostle John wrote down what He had seen Jesus do. John wrote:

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 21:30-31).

And it’s the same reason I’m writing to you today. I want you to know, with certainty, that the things recorded in the Bible about Jesus Christ are 100% true, from His virgin birth, to His sacrificial death, to His early-morning resurrection, to His imminent return.

It’s interesting to me that Luke, who so carefully investigated the details of what he wrote in order to lead Theophilus to a logical conclusion about Christ, spends more time on the virgin birth than any of the other gospel writers. He talks about angels appearing to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. He details the reactions of Elizabeth and Mary when they discover they are pregnant -- two of the least likely people they would have imagined to conceive children.

Rather than shying away from these astounding events, Luke begins with them as the focal point for the beginning of his “orderly account.”

Let the words of the angels to the shepherds sink into your heart as Luke hoped they would sink into the heart of his friend:

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ ” (Luke 2:9-14).

My prayer for you today is that you will know the certainty of the things you have been taught, that you will know that God loves you, that Jesus died for you, and that He wants you to live with Him forever in heaven.

Take time to think about truth of what you’ve been taught. Take time to read more of Luke’s orderly account of the birth of Christ, and the rest of His life. And take time to rejoice that God sent such a perfect gift into this world, for you.

Praying for all of us,
Pastor Mike


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