“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:18
The gospel — or good news — is the story of Jesus. The power of God to those who believe. In the words of one of my favorite childhood hymns…
I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.
I can’t help but have a smile on my face when I sing these words, but are they true of me? Do I really love to tell the story of my Savior? Or far too often am I ashamed of it, or neglect to really tell it? Do I really spread “the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word”?
I believe that many Christians, myself included, have fallen into the trap of centering the “gospel” around ourselves, not Jesus. Of telling our story, not His.
It’s easier, more comfortable, most of the time to talk about our own lives than to boldly proclaim His story. But which one has the power to save?
I could tell people about my life all day long. But no matter how great my life is, or how much God has been working in my life, that story will never save them. Only the power of God will save them. Only the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Only the story of His taking our place on the cross. Only the story of God making a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him again.
That story is powerful. That story gives me chills. So why am I afraid to tell it?
I don’t know.
I make some pretty lame excuses every day of my life. I worry that people won’t listen or will think I am strange. It’s easier to convince myself that I’m doing all I need to do by talking about myself and bringing up Jesus name once in a while.
But that can’t cut it anymore.
I want to tell Jesus’ story. The story that saved me and transformed my life. The message that government officials claimed had “upset the world” (Acts 17:6) when the disciples shared it in the first century. The story that has lasted thousands of years and never stopped being faithful.
What is the story of Jesus?
He loved us so much, even though we rejected Him, that He wanted to make a way for our sins to be forgotten, for us to live in a perfect relationship with Him again. But since we are far from perfect, and our sin requires death to atone for it, He took that death for us. God’s own Son in the human form of Jesus came down to this earth, lived here as a man and never sinned. He was despised by His own people and they ultimately put Him to death in a gruesome and horrible way. He gave Himself over to them and died completely innocent. But He didn’t stay dead long. Three days later, He rose victoriously from the dead. Proving that He has ultimate power over death. And with that power, He chooses to rescue us from the inevitable death we all deserve. We only have to ask Him to do so. To believe that He alone has the power to save us. To save us from death. To save us from a life marred by sin. To save us from separation from our loving Father.
As Paul told his jailer who asked how to be saved,
“Believe in the LORD Jesus and you will be saved.” — Acts 16:31
And as he writes in a letter to the Romans…
“Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” — Romans 10:13
That’s good news!! That’s powerful. That’s the gospel. And that’s the story I want to tell from now on. The story that has the power to change hearts and lives. I want to fall in love with telling that story, Jesus’ story.