By Carey Nieuwhof, Founding and Teaching Pastor
Welcome to Day 1 of the 24 Day Devotion. So glad you're joining us! Each day for 24 days as a church, we're going to read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke and post a devotion on it.
If you've never read the Bible, we're so glad you're joining us. And if you read the Bible, we hope this helps you grow in your faith.
Why a 24 day journey? Because we'd love for you to get to know the Bible better and trust it more deeply, as millions have in every generation.
As part of our I Can't Believe in a God Who series, I interviewed Dr. Craig Evans who shared some of the historical evidence behind the accuracy of the scriptures (you can watch or listen to the entire series for free here).
Our hope? That as you read the Bible daily, your viewpoint moves from suspicion to trust. Just ten minutes a day, once a day, for 24 days. You may be amazed at what happens.
Don't have a Bible? We'll have a link for you every day in the devotion so you can read online. But best yet, get your own copy for free. Just click here and download to any device.
Here's day the devotion and reading for day one.
READ: Luke 1
So is the New Testament a lie?
It’s a great question. Luke begins his Gospel by saying that what he’s about to share with us is accurate—that he wrote his Gospel to provide a reliable account of the events surrounding Jesus.
It’s still easy to be suspicious…wondering whether someone would have made it all up, for personal gain or attention or some other motive that’s lost to us now.
How would you know?
Well, for one thing, it’s pretty difficult to keep a lie at the scale of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection going.
For example, you’ve likely heard the theory among some that even the 1969 moon landing by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong was a hoax—that the US government made it up as propaganda.
Oxford University physicist, Dr. David Grimes, recently worked out a mathematical formula on the moon landing and other conspiracy theories.
He calculated that a lie must be kept to a very small circle for it to survive over time. The reasoning? The more people involved, the more likely a whistleblower will emerge to expose the lie or the more likely it is for the lie to be accidentally uncovered.
Look at the actual math behind Dr. Grime’s theory (from a recent Telegraph U.K. article) on how many people can know about a lie to keep it covered up:
“For a plot to last five years, the maximum number of plotters turned out to be 2,521.
To keep a scheme operating undetected for more than a decade, fewer than 1,000 people could be involved, while a century-long deception had to include fewer than 125 collaborators.”
Did you catch that? For a lie to last more than a century, there have to be fewer than 125 collaborators.
The events of Jesus’ life (as Luke will share in his Gospel and in the Book of Acts, which he also wrote), were witnessed by thousands of people (actually tens of thousands). If Jesus didn’t exist, it would be difficult for lie on that scale to NOT have been exposed. Many also witnessed the resurrection.
Dr. Grimes says that for the moon landing to be a faked, over 400,000 people who worked at NASA would have had to be ‘in’ on the lie. His conclusion is that the lie would have been ‘impossible to keep quiet’.
During our series, “I Can’t Believe in a God Who…,” I interviewed leading New Testament Scholar Dr. Craig Evans about why he believes the New Testament is accurate, reliable and trustworthy. You can watch the message here or listen to it here (it’s called “I Can’t Believe in a God Who Gives Us a Faulty Bible”). Craig outlines some fascinating and compelling arguments.
In addition to all that, here’s what has helped persuade me. In addition to everything we’ve covered so far, if you were going to make up a story, why would you make up the Biblical story as we know it?
• You would make no money off it…in fact, you would give much of your money away because of it.
• You would likely recant the story later because you would be killed because of it (Paul and most of the apostles were killed because of their faith in Jesus). Nobody recanted.
• You would likely not invent a story of a man rising from the dead whom hundreds of people saw because people would know it never happened…unless it happened.
In fact, the New Testament is not plausible at all…unless, of course, it’s true. Re-read Luke 1 with that in mind.
Then ask yourself: what if it takes as much faith to believe that the Bible ISN'T TRUE as it does it does to believe it IS true?
What if it takes as much faith to believe the Bible ISN'T TRUE as it does to believe it IS true?
If you trusted the Word of God to actually be from God, how would your life be different? Keep journeying with us through the Gospel of Luke for 24 says, and see how the scripture speaks to you. We’ll have a fresh chapter and devotion posted for you each morning for the next 24 days.
Lord, help me to really suspend my disbelief over these next 24 days and perhaps for the first time, trust. Help me to listen. Help me to engage the accounts in this Gospel and see how they apply to my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.