Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Before social media memes and before email forwards, there were supermarket tabloids spreading stories that seemed unbelievable. How do you test stories in these media to know whether to believe them?
2. Can you think of a story that seemed unbelievable at first, but was later shown to be true? How was this seemingly incredible story shown to be accurate?
Read Luke 1:1-4.
1. Scan verses 2 and 3. What phrases do you find there that are marks of authenticity and accuracy?
2. Notice the title given to Theophilus, the recipient of this Gospel. What kinds of positions do people hold that are referred to as “most excellent” or “your excellency?” Luke submitted his research to a person of such a position. How does that fact support the credibility of his testimony?
3. Look at the question Cleopas asked in verse 18. Rephrase it into a statement beginning with “Everyone visiting Jerusalem . . . .” If something is common knowledge, is it more or less credible to you? Explain.
4. Verse 21 indicates that Cleopas had given up on a hope he had. Yet, his entire speech seems to show that he had mixed feelings. What thoughts of Cleopas seem to support that Jesus was the redeemer of Israel and what thoughts seem to support the idea that he was not?
5. Look back to verses 15 and 16. Notice the strange passive voice construction in verse 16. (The verse speaks of blinding being done to these two men, not who actively blinded them.) Who do you think blinded these men? What might have been the purpose of keeping them from recognizing Jesus at first?
6. Contrast how Jesus proved his resurrection to Thomas (John 20:27-29) to how he proved his resurrection to these two men. Why are both proofs important?
7. We have four Gospels. How does the source of the facts recorded by Matthew, Mark, and John differ from Luke’s sources? Be prepared to defend the accuracy of the Gospel accounts of Jesus when someone challenges your faith.