There’s a new phrase which has hit the headlines recently: Fake News. I wonder if you’ve noticed it?
It started in the USA when Donald Trump and his team started using it to question the credibility of newspapers and TV News Channels, including the BBC, when they didn’t get the coverage they had hoped for. Sadly our own politicians have also begun to use it as a tactic to avoid answering difficult questions.
Now, of course, what we read in the newspapers or see on the TV news isn’t always correct. Journalists do make mistakes from time to time when reporting facts and, sometimes deliberately, they do sometimes skew stories to suit their own agendas or to attract more readers, but by and large we enjoy the benefits of a free and reliable press in this country, and we shouldn’t take it for granted.
That’s one of the reasons I think we can be so sure that the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus are reliable.
When the gospels were written just a few years after Jesus had lived, the disciples of Jesus were ostracised by the Jewish leaders as heretics, ridiculed by the Greeks (who thought the idea of a crucified saviour didn’t make sense), and were often hunted by the Romans authorities as rebels against the emperor. There was no money in it for them and little, if any, prospect of an easy life as a follower of Jesus. But nevertheless the disciples spent their days and risked their lives telling people about Jesus. That was why four of them wrote their accounts down to make it easier to spread the word.
And it’s when you read those accounts with this in mind that what hits you time and time again is just how badly the disciples are portrayed. Anyone wanting to start a religion would surely make the 12 disciples out to be heroes to be admired but the gospels record their mistakes, their squabbling, their jealousy, their weaknesses and their failures for all to see. Why write those things down — unless they were true?
In an era when truth is challenged again and again I want to encourage you to believe what you read in the Bible. This extraordinary book, inspired by God and written down by dozens of different authors over hundreds of years, tells one coherent story. It’s the story of the God who made, loves and who died to save this world. And this month as we prepare ourselves to celebrate Easter, what better time is there to read those life-changing and world-changing truths again.
If you’d like to read an account of Jesus’ life let us know and we’ll get one to you for free!