A young man had to do military service. He told his parson that he was afraid that they would make fun of him for being a Christian. A year later the parson saw him again and asked him how it went. His reply was: “Very well, they never even realised that I was a Christian.” Had Jesus’ followers also been ashamed of the gospel, and not preached the message of Jesus through the ages, we would not have known Jesus today.
Paul said: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). The gospel is the Good News that Jesus rose from the dead and that we may thereby know that He is the Son of God. He died in our place for our sins so that we, through faith in Him, may become children of God. Paul firmly believed this Good News and therefore he was not ashamed of it. Paul was also not worried about how he should convey the message because he didn’t want to impress people with clever words. He trusted that the Holy Spirit would bring about faith in the people to whom he spoke: … my teaching and message were not delivered with skillful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God’s Spirit. Your faith, then, does not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power. (1 Cor. 2:4 – 5).
Jesus told his disciples to make all nations his followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19 – 20). He promised that the Holy Spirit would help: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). The disciples could therefore powerfully declare that Jesus, our Redeemer, conquered death. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33).
God will give eternal life to everyone who believes in Jesus. But people cannot believe in Jesus if nobody has told them about Him: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Rom. 10:13 – 14).
We must also be witnesses of Jesus through our conduct, for example: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:17). Jesus empathises with people who suffer. If this also reflects our attitude, it tells of Jesus’ love within us. When Jesus speaks of the day of reckoning, He thinks particularly of these people in need. He calls them his brothers … “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it (good or bad) to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ” (Matt. 25:34 – 40).
If the gospel has changed us, we shall also say: “For we cannot stop speaking of what we ourselves have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20).
Lord, we pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon us and empower us so that we can testify about Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.