“For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilised world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News.”
Romans 1:14-15 NLT
Paul was a driven man. His encounter with the living Jesus totally upset his world. At that encounter he discovered how wrong he was in persecuting the early Christians, and he was overwhelmed by the love and grace of God, in giving him a second chance. I have met people, or heard about people, in the past to whom the enormity of their sins, when suddenly exposed, when realisation strikes, who find a new purpose in life, and they cannot stop telling other people about what God has done for them. But was Paul unique in his “great sense of obligation” or is this something we all should have?
There are many different ways in which we can serve our Lord and Master, Jesus. He taught much, during His three short years here on Planet Earth, about the Kingdom of God, or, as Matthew put it, the Kingdom of Heaven. When Jesus came to Palestine, birthed as a human being, He brought Heaven with Him, and reminded everyone He met that it was close at hand. Right at the start of His ministry, Matthew recorded, “From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”” (Matthew 4:17). And in the next chapter, early on in His Sermon on the Mount, He reminded His followers about their obligation to be “salt and light” wherever they lived. At that time Jesus brought Heaven closer to earth, after a long disassociation that started with the fall of man in the Genesis account, and, because Jesus is still alive today, the closeness of Heaven remains. We live in a season of God’s grace, and because of that we must take every opportunity to share what Jesus has done for us. We won’t all receive a calling like Paul, to convert the world to Christianity, but in our own living spheres we can serve God faithfully.
Paul’s reference to both the “civilised world and the rest of the world” embraced all peoples everywhere. Anyone who was human was included. And it continues today. Paul may be long dead, but his mission lives on. With world migration so prevalent, more than it has been in any previous period in history, opportunities to share about Jesus are increasing. And we know that once all have heard the Gospel, the end will come. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come”. We are not quite there yet, but that event is getting ever closer. God does not want any to be able to say, when they stand before Him, that they were never told about Jesus.
Paul continues to remind his readers that he made no distinction between the “educated and uneducated”. The wonderful thing about the Gospel is that nobody needs a theological degree to understand it. Its message of forgiveness and love, of breathtaking grace, can connect with everyone. But some will ask about babies or those with learning difficulties. I believe that God’s grace extends even to them, with a love and mercy that befits Him.
We pilgrims must also have a “great sense of obligation“, as Paul did. What else can we have when we know and understand all that Jesus did for us at Calvary. The Good News is just that, and it shines like a beacon in a world riven by huge quantities of bad news. And the more we share it, the closer will come the End Times and the new Heaven and earth we read about in Revelation. Paul was eager in his mission. So must we be while we can.
Dear Father God. The death and resurrection of Jesus is really Good News. We pray for opportunities to share it with those around us. Please open their hearts to receive Your gracious gift, the salvation of their souls. In Jesus’ name. Amen.