You may remember a game played long ago called Telephone. One person in a circle would think of a phrase, and would whisper it to the person next to them. That person would whisper what they heard to the next, and so forth around the circle.
The last person in the circle then told the group what had come to them. The results were always hilarious because nothing of the original message remained. It’s very hard to keep the message straight.
Critics of Christianity can use that argument to dismiss the truth of the Gospels. They can say with scientific certainty the memories of the disciples and the folks who wrote them down can’t be trusted. So, in their view, the reported words of Jesus in the Gospels are just made up, the result of transmission errors and misunderstandings.
Christians, however, know something the critics eject. The words of Jesus are safe-guarded by a source sent directly by God. In John 14:26, Jesus tells his assembled disciples the “comforter, advocate, counselor, companion, will remind you of everything I have told you.”
This might be one of the most important verses in the Bible. Because of it, the disciples who had listened to Jesus’ teaching could remember his words accurately. Because of it, the writers of the Gospels, working a generation or more after Jesus’ Resurrection, could be assured their sources were accurate in their reporting.
Because of it, we, living and acting in faith more than 2,000 years later, can rely on the texts we read and hear preached on.
Our memory is no better, and probably much worse, than the original followers of Jesus, but we can still hear with clarity the call Jesus places on our life.
The presence of the Holy Spirit gives us the one thing the world cannot give: peace in our hearts and minds.
We can confidently recall the words of Jesus, and use them to encourage each other to do the works of the God who sent him. And we won’t be troubled or afraid as we follow the path the Spirit calls us to follow.
Jesus has borne our sins and forgiven our trespasses. We can be sure of that.
Today’s Insights was written by the Rev. George Lawton, pastor of Lakeside United Methodist Church. Insights is written by area clergy to give different viewpoints on a variety of topics. It is published each Saturday in cooperation with the Berrien County Association of Churches. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of member churches.