Historical Truth

Read: Acts 4:1-20       

I recently ran across a Christmas quiz that tested my knowledge about some of the historical facts pertaining to the Christmas story shared in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  It was interesting to see how many of our common held perceptions of that story and the nativity are assumed truths.

In the midst of learning those things I was thankful that the historical truth of the story is not compromised by the ponderings of how many and what kinds of animals were at the nativity, or how many Magi eventually visited Bethlehem to see Jesus.  It’s good and fine to imagine what that scene looked like and recreate it with our nativity sets, but it is great news to know that the birth of Jesus our Savior is true and not some made up story.

Virtually all New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical investigation, find that the historical truth of Jesus is certain.  Those who follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior will tell you that the presence of Jesus in their lives and world is truly a light shining in the darkness.  The Bible and the lives of those who believe are full of these accounts.

One of them is found in Acts 4.  Peter and John are standing before the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law in Jerusalem and proclaiming the truth about who Jesus is, what they have witnessed Jesus do, and how Jesus is the Son of God.  These were the things that followed that wonderful night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  Peter boldly proclaims in verse 12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

We may not know all of the exact details of Christ’s birth; how many animals, how many wise men and where they found Jesus, or what the night of his birth looked like for sure.  But we do know the most important part.  Jesus was born as God’s Son, lived a perfect life of love and compassion, died on the cross for our sins, and was resurrected to life.  Even the authorities listening to Peter testify could not deny the historical truth in front of them.  And yet they did.

Make it personal:  The most important part of this Holiday Season is that we embrace the truth of what Christmas means for us and our world. Receiving the salvation and saving grace of Jesus and believing on him as God’s Son can truly bring new light and hope to your new year ahead.  I’m not exactly sure what that first nativity looked like, but I’m sure of what happened there!

Happy New Year, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church