I’m about to undertake some travel, so I’ll be ‘off the air’ shortly for a few weeks…
But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
It is a mistake to think of the Gospels as historical documents. Yes, Jesus was a historical figure but this conclusion of John’s Gospel lays out its purpose – it is a faith document, crafted to guide the reader towards faith in Jesus. But this is not a ‘numbers ministry’ – like trying to rack up the greatest number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Faith in Jesus gives life in a way that leads to ‘life to the full’ (John 10:10).
With young people, we can assert that Jesus was a historical figure – since the Gospels are faith documents we needn’t try to reconcile differences or discrepancies between them. Defining truth in purely historical or scientific terms is insufficiently broad when it comes to faith. The Gospels were written for different communities with different needs. It remains for us to be the best witnesses of faith we can, demonstrating the life we have in Jesus’ name – and, despite the faults and failings of we who are the Church, ‘God writes straight with crooked lines’.
Have a great week!