“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.””
Romans 1:16-17 NLT
Why should anyone be ashamed about the Gospel? A life changing discovery is surely nothing to be ashamed of. Take someone like Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, a discovery which has had an enormous impact on saving lives, otherwise blighted by bacteriological diseases. Nothing there to be ashamed of. In fact, his discovery has been developed and extended, to the benefit of mankind present here on Earth, in our generations. A discovery to be shouted from the rooftops with gratitude and pride. So how much more the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that will save far more lives than penicillin can. An antibiotic might save lives in our existence here on earth, but those people who benefit will still die a natural death one day. The Gospel has eternal benefits. Jesus said, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT).
A common response to sharing the Gospel, in my experience, is one of ridicule and rejection. People dismiss the Good News as being somehow disconnected from reality, something archaic and irrelevant in today’s techno-world. People see the benefits of an antibiotic because people get better. How can belief in a few words have any benefit, they say. Give us some proof, and we’ll believe then. Even the Son of God, Jesus Himself, came up against such a response. In Matthew 16:1 we read, “One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority”. People want proof of what God can offer in a form that they can see with their natural eyes. But we are dealing here with a far more important world – God’s world. A spiritual world.
A hindrance to many is the fact that no-one, apart from Jesus, has returned from Heaven to say that the Good News is truth. Jesus told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. We read in Luke 16:19-21, “Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores”. After they had both died, as the parable goes, the Rich Man ended up in hell, and Lazarus with Abraham in Heaven. The Rich Man realised his mistake, and, in anguish in the flames of hell, he asked Abraham to send the poor man, Lazarus, back to earth so that he could warn the Rich Man’s brothers. And we read the response in Luke 16:29-31, ““But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’””
Because Jesus said that He has the words of eternal life, we pilgrims believe it. Because we have faith in the One who died for our sins at Calvary we have no reason to be ashamed when we share the Good News. Instead, we can speak about it boldly, because God said it. And there is no greater mandate. Ever.
Dear God. You had a plan, that through Jesus human beings would have access to eternal life with You. Please help us share that Good News with those around us, with boldness and certainty. In Jesus’ name. Amen,