Today’s reading is Acts 1.
Sometimes what amazes me most about the Bible is not what it does say, but what it does not say. There are bits and pieces left out that to me seem really important. For instance, according to Luke, over 40 days Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles “by many proofs.” Why didn’t Luke share more of that? Certainly, a couple of those events are recorded in the gospels, but if there were many, why not show more? If I were a skeptic, I’d jump on that with a fervor saying they didn’t have many proofs. I’d say Luke was just making it all up. In fact, even as a believer, I’m a little drawn to that and start to have my doubts. However, something pulls me up short from running headlong down that trail. I ask myself, if I were making up this story of Jesus out of whole cloth, what would I do? Like Luke, I would want there to be many convincing proofs. Like Luke, I would think there needed to be many convincing proofs. Not just a couple, but many. Not just a handful, but many. If I were making up this story, I would make up many “proofs.” I’d start developing so many stories of Jesus appearing to the apostles and to others that the reader would have to cave under the pressure of all the proof. But oddly, Luke is satisfied with simply saying, “Oh yeah, there were many convincing proofs. I don’t have room to share them. But they were there.” Then he moves on with the story. Why? Because Luke isn’t making up the story. Since he isn’t, he doesn’t have that overwhelming psychological and emotional need to multiply proofs. As far as he’s concerned, the few he shared in the first volume is enough. As far as he’s concerned, telling the stories of Jesus’s impact on the disciples in the coming chapters is enough. That is a mark of people telling the truth. They don’t feel the need to multiply supposed proofs. And all of this reminds me that what Jesus is striving to produce in us is faith. As shocking as it is to us, when faith is the premium, there will always be room for doubt. But I ask you, does Luke write like an author who knows he is lying, making up stories, fabricating events to convince us to follow him as a religious leader? Or does he write like a man who believes, who knows he is simply telling the truth? I know what I see here. What about you?
Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 1.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, one of the most convincing aspects of the God, Jesus Christ, the gospel, and the Bible to me is how rarely things work the way I would expect. I work out in my mind how I want things proven or accomplished, but as I read, I discover something different. God doesn’t act the way I expect Him to. Often, at first, that causes me to worry. Is God real? He didn’t do what I expected? Is the Bible reliable? It didn’t say what I expected? Is the gospel true? It doesn’t teach what I thought it would? But in just those moments when I start to move to skepticism, a thought occurs to me. The only God who would behave only in ways I expect and understand, would be nothing more than a god I made up in my own mind. Certainly, as the Bible says, we can reason together and use our reason to evaluate claims. We don’t check our brains at the door to be believers in Jesus. However, I’m no longer thrown off when I find bits that don’t match what I expect and even some pieces that I don’t yet understand. After all, isn’t that the way things should be if I’m really following an infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator God? He’s probably not going to do everything the way I expect, and isn’t that exactly what I should most expect?