“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
One of the biograhies in my library was given to me by a friend many years ago. She was a retired member of the foreign service and had lived in the Middle East, prior to and during the second world war. We shared a common interest in Egypt and one day while visiting with her she gave me a book memorializing the exploits of James Bruce of Kinnaird. James Bruce was an eighteenth century Scottish explorer of the Nile and one of the great figures in the history of European exploration. Ever heard of him?
Biographies of the famous, or the not-so-famous, are the principal way we keep their lives before us. As an ancient history major in college I was required to read numerous texts and biographies of ancient lives. There is simply no other way to access the dead but to read their own works or the works of those who have memorialized them.
Jesus of Nazareth lived two thousand years ago. Many, many books have been written memorializing and analyzing the lives of his famous contemporaries such as the emperor Augustus. But the legacy of the New Testament books do not fall into the category of memorial. In fact, there is not one line in the New Testament written on the assumption that Jesus is dead. Every line assumes just the opposite: Jesus lives.
The ancient believers who penned the early works of the faith were proclaiming the Risen Christ and His life among them. Their efforts were not designed to garner appreciation for a dead Jesus, as if he were some great teacher who had gone to the dust. Then, as now, the faithful tell the story of Jesus and His love because that love is a real, and present reality. We tell the story because the Living God uses the story not to memorialize His Beloved Son, but to make Him known.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”