One of my best friends is an atheist. She didn’t grow up in a Christian home. They didn’t have any faith base at all. But she knows of the name of Jesus. In fact, she attended church here with me one Sunday when she was visiting (side note, she said it was one of her favorite places she’s been to).
How does she know this? Even though she doesn’t believe in God right now, how does she know that name? Jesus? How do any of us know that name? Jesus was crucified, died and buried years and years and years ago. And he wasn’t the only one who suffered such a horrible death. Thousands of other men were put to death in that way, but we don’t know who they are.
Luke acted as an investigative journalist and interviewed everyone he could who had anything to do with Jesus. He wanted to make sure he got every detail right so we would know the certainty of what we’re hearing today. Journalism done right is powerful. Luke was one of those writers. But here’s a question…why did he care so much? Why go through all the work? The apostles watched Jesus die in one of the worst ways possible. They watched professionals put him to death. He was buried, placed in a tomb with a gigantic stone in front. And then he came back to life. And he didn’t just disappear. He proved he was alive. He ate with them, let Thomas put his hand where they stabbed him with a sword.
This was the motivation. This is the message preached over and over again. Jesus was dead and buried. But he lived! He came back to us. He proved it. We saw it, and I’m going to tell you about it. They couldn’t help telling about it. Could you? What if you saw all that happen? I doubt you’d be able to hold it in. Jesus gave the disciples a task to be his witnesses and spread the word to the ends of the earth.
You might be thinking, well they must have done their job. I know Jesus. I know what happened. But are you telling anyone? Because there are still so many people who don’t know his name. Don’t know what happened. And there are people like my friend who know of Jesus, but don’t believe. And we need to be witnesses to them too. We can’t give up on them. God didn’t give up on us. We shouldn’t give up either. This is what Jesus wants us to do. Be his witnesses. Spread the good news. We can’t afford not to.