Today’s reading was [youversion]Luke 1:1-6:49[/youversion]
The Book of Luke has always been my favorite gospel account. I love how Luke is an outsider. He wasn’t one of the disciples. So, he tells the story of Jesus life as an outsider, explaining in more detail various events and filling in the gaps from some of the other gospel accounts. I am also very fond of the fact that he took time and effort to investigate about Jesus, he didn’t just sit down and start writing what he had heard. [youversion]Luke 1:1:4[/youversion] Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught. He verified it and researched to learn the real story about Jesus. I also love that we know that this book is written specifically to a man named Theophilis for the purpose of validating all that he had learned about Jesus.
I have always been the type of person that wants to dig deeply into an issue and look for evidence. I want to know the truth, not simply be told the truth. When I first accepted Christ I forced myself to learn more about Him before I would accept Him. I needed evidence. The book of Luke was very instrumental when I first accepted Christ as it gave me a strong foundation to know who Jesus is. So, I enjoy the level of detail that Luke provides in this gospel account. I am far more comfortable reading Luke’s findings than I am reading the Book of Mark, which seems more like a summary of Jesus ministry. There is nothing wrong with the book of Mark, but I would always choose Luke’s version over Mark’s.
As I have been reading this past week the overall question of ‘What does real faith look like?’ has been what has been on my thoughts. In Matthew and in Mark I see Jesus giving some fairly clear direction regarding what he considers real faith to be. The Faith that I am seeing Jesus describe throughout his ministry is one of action and obedience. Knowledge is a key part of it, but He focuses on action or fruit as is described in a few parables. In [youversion]Luke 6:46-49[/youversion] Jesus says the following: “So why do you keep calling me `Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Jesus words here seem very similar to what is quoted in Matthew when Jesus says: â€œNot everyone who calls out to me, `Lord! Lord!â€™ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, `Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.â€™ But I will reply, `I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break Godâ€™s laws.â€™ â€” [youversion]Matthew 7:21-23[/youversion]
Jesus again is focusing on those who take his teachings and follow them. Those who are obedient, not simply those who believe him. I know not all Churches nor all Christians teach that we simply need to believe in Jesus to be saved. Many pastors, teachers, and Churches clearly teach about Faith, a faith of action, not simply a faith of knowledge. But I have met numerous Christians that seem to have missed the faith that Jesus is describing. He is describing a faith that follows through action more than just words. A faith that can be seen as good fruit in the lives of his followers. A faith that is recognizable. This means that if people are unable to tell if you are a Christian by how you live your life, then you should ask yourself is your faith real? Jesus words are clear and harsh on this issue. So this is something that needs to be thought deeply about. Does Jesus know you? It isn’t just about you calling on his name, it is about Him knowing you as one of his followers, and Jesus is clearly marking out that this is determined by what your faith looks like, not about the accomplishments you have in your life, or the things you have done in Jesus name, but whether your faith has been one of obedience.
I heard this story told once:
There is a man who takes a long rope and stretches it across the Grand Canyon. He then walks back and forth on the rope and a crowd gathers to watch him. They watch him hop across, walk across on his hands, and many other feats as he crossed the rope. He made it look so easy, yet even the slightest miss step and he would fall to his death. He then called on the crowd and said “Who believes that I can carry someone across on my shoulders?” Everyone in the crowd said “Yes, we believe you can.” So, the man said “Who wants to go first?” A young man stepped forward and said “I will go.”
For someone to step out and actually get on this mans shoulders would show that they have real faith, that the man can actually carry them across the Grand Canyon on the rope. The rest of the crowd simply believed that it was possible. Jesus is asking us to step out and have real faith, to follow him, not to simply believe that what he says is true. Often we have confused the concept of belief and faith together because they can be used interchangeably in English. But the difference is that one is based on knowledge and the other is based on action. Jesus is calling us to have a Faith that is obedient, not simply a belief or knowledge of the truth.