How carefully have you studied the history of biblical faith?
You have probably heard the phrase, “History is written by the winners.” It is unfortunate that some historians – armchair, amateur, and professional – particularly in post-modern times, believe it is rare to find a truly accurate historical account.
They suggest that the “winners” control the information and publish whatever account(s) favor their narrative. They tell us that those accounts are mere propaganda, and contain made up “victories or achievements,” rather than demoralizing defeats.
It is true that historical events need to be carefully assessed because they in all likelihood contain truth and falsehood. Good historians will be certain to examine all the evidence and competing accounts before coming to their conclusions. They will consider the event in the context in which it took place, and make sure they have an accurate representation of what happened, especially before they consider it in the light of the present day.
Part of the pursuit of an historian is to assess history by the character and consistency of the witnesses. Dan Shaughnessy, baseball writer of the Boston Globe, chronicled the events that led to the historic championship. His columns captured the range of emotions New Englanders felt and experienced in the season long and playoff quest that resulted in a title. He catalogued the decades long suffering baseball fans that rooted for the Sox knew so well and finally triumphed over. Dan was an accurate scribe who recorded for all time the season that led to such joy in the six New England states after such long futility.
I lived in Boston in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox won their first major league World Series in 86 years. I read Dan’s columns that recounted the long march to the World Series. I watched the games on television. I can vouch for Dan’s truthful and careful documentation of a winning season. He was there. I was too. Eyewitness accounts still matter. Boston won. St. Louis did not.
Such is the case for the truthfulness of the Biblical accounts of the person of Jesus. The men and women who walked with Jesus were there. Their testimony of what they saw and heard of meeting Jesus, listening to his teaching, seeing him crucified, and later seeing him after his death and resurrection need to be considered as truthful. Their stories should be measured against what happened. Some critics argue that this is a case of the “losers” writing the history. Regardless of the forces arrayed against the early followers and witnesses of Jesus, who were tortured by the winners, the truth of the resurrection of Jesus has been unstoppable.
One of those so-called persecuted “losers” was the apostle John, one of Jesus’ earliest and trusted disciples.
Read John 19:31-35.
In John 19, we hear the words of John, a loving and tender follower of Jesus declaring that he “promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” about his good friend, Jesus. John clearly declares the truthfulness of the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Later John, along with Peter and Paul, who were actually killed by the “winners,” attest and assert that Jesus also rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.
Think theologically. Two thousand years and millions of Christ-honoring disciples later, the record and fact of history about Jesus’ victory over death is affirmed like none other.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz