18/04/2010

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Can we know Jesus lived?
The documentary evidence is good. Some people believe that the New Testament that we read has been translated hundreds of times and no longer bears any resemblance to what was originally written. In fact the New Testament was written in Greek and only that was copied out lost and lots of times. So much so that many remain and almost all of the New Testament (and a lot of the Old) in one document (Codex Sinaiticus) which is dated c. 350 AD. There are lots of older documents going right back to a small piece of John's gospel dated 127 AD. These are old and what they all show is that what we have today is virtually identical and hardly anything has been altered. The odd word or phrase and there is evidence of the errors that happen when either something is dictated or copied - repeats or spelling errors (equivalent to the English mistakes of 'there' for 'their' etc.)
There are more of these documents and of an older age than for a lot of other 'events' in history before then and since which no one questions.

Can we know Jesus died?
Obviously he had to have died - we all do! But, on a cross as a common criminal at the hands of the Romans? Crucifixion is about the cruellest form of execution ever devised and the Romans were 'good' at it because they wanted people to be in fear of what happened to those who committed offences - tough justice! Why would anyone invent that a carpenter turned itinerant preacher and healer from Nazareth whose only crime was to 'offend' the Jewish leaders by his direct claims could end up being crucified? It does seem to be a rather an odd story to have at the centre of the world's number one selling book!

Can we know Jesus rose from the dead?
It is what people have said and written for almost 2000 years and for which many themselves have been prepared to die! Another question, why? Why would people make it up, why would people die for a lie and why would anyone form a movement and it survive (well) for all that time if the very basis of it all is untrue? The written evidence is that of an empty tomb, men and women seeing Jesus alive and on one occasion there were 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6) and that is a lot of people.

Can we know Jesus is alive today?
This time I am going to answer with a bold 'yes'. In the Psalms (and so long before Jesus) the writer says, (Psalm 34:8) Taste and see that the Lord is goodI have been a Christian for over forty years - nearly all my life, and I can say that through those years with all their joys and sorrows, the Lord has been good and I see Jesus in and around my life and that of others. He brings love, forgiveness, acceptance and he guides and provides in remarkable ways. We have a saying very similar to what the psalmist says, 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating'. The 'proof' that Jesus lives is mostly discovered when we take that informed step of faith and trust him in small or bigger ways.

Will you be able to say this Easter and beyond, 'Jesus lives. Alleluia'?
Millions will do so including me. Say it now if you can and join us as we continue to worship and seek to serve our crucified, risen, ascended and glorified Saviour.

Team Vicar's Compass article for April
Artwork at  http://art-verse.com/index.html

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