Jesus lived a perfect life. He died a perfect death. He resurrected in the perfect defeat of death and sin.
Maybe you’ve heard this before. Maybe you know it to be true. Maybe it’s the basis of your salvation, of your new life.
No matter where you find yourself, there exists nothing more important than this fact: Jesus’s life, death and resurrection act as the ultimate sacrifice for sin, the only source of true, deep life for all of mankind. Everything else is simply a detail, a distraction from this urgent truth.
As I prepare to spend my second summer as a GenSend missionary, this time in Phoenix, I’ve been reminding myself of this.
The simple gospel.
Simple, yet powerful enough to totally transform lives, to bring death to life.
I don’t remember the first time I heard the gospel, the first time I heard about the Jesus who would one day be my closest friend. I know I heard it countless times before I considered it my own and welcomed it as a part of my story as a fourth grader. And after that, I heard the gospel hundreds of more times.
I know the gospel.
The good news of Christ changed me, brought me joy and peace and acceptance into the family of God. I knew it to be good and true and powerful. I knew the story. I knew the alternative, yet did nothing, said nothing to the people around me.
Honestly, as I look back, I’m not sure if I knew I was “supposed” to share the story with others, that my being a Christian meant me also being a missionary. I don’t know when that realization came to me, when God placed that truth on my heart.
What I do know: when I found out living the gospel meant sharing the gospel, nothing changed.
Being a Christian meant going to church every Sunday, attending youth gatherings on Wednesday, sacrificing a half hour of sleep on Thursday mornings for First Priority meetings. Sharing the gospel was for my pastor, for the missionaries that sometimes came to speak to our congregation, for the summer VBS leaders at church. Not me. Never me.
Now, before I lose myself on a tangent for missions (feel free to seek me out anytime you want to hear said tangent), let me get to my point.
If you know the gospel, if your heart has been eternally changed by the good news of Christ’s coming and that event’s impact on humanity, you are called to share that message.
I hope your heart is beating a little faster. I hope a voice in your head is going into panic mode, scurrying to ready-made excuses as to why this doesn’t pertain to you. I hope your hands are sweating at the thought of sharing Jesus’s truth with that person whose face pops up anytime you read something like this.
Even more, I hope you shut down those lies with the power of the simple gospel, the power of the cross, the power of the same Spirit that breathed in Christ, that gave life to the first church, that has brought millions into relationship with our Father.
I hope you share that simple gospel. Like, I hope you share it today.
Don’t sign up for some mission trip next month. Don’t look for a cop out way of sharing the gospel with a kid at your church on Sunday, the same kid who just colored a picture of Jesus on the cross in Sunday school.
I mean, share it.
Here’s why, just in case you’ve forgotten. Because sometimes I do.
God pursued you. Before you even existed on this earth, He knew you (all of you!!) and He wanted you. So much so that He sent His son, not as a high priest, a rich king, a super-spiritual angel-like creation, but as an infant. He lived a tempted, yet perfect life. Jesus, the Word in flesh, shone light into the darkest of places, performing miracles we would scoff at today, which is the exact reaction he received. Even so, he allowed his creation to lead him to imprisonment and death, brutal death on a cross. As he was beaten and slowly killed, the Son of God interceded to his Father on behalf of his murderers. His last breath laid a blanket of grace over all of humanity for all time, as the veil between God and sinful man was torn, top to bottom. Eternal reconciliation was made possible when Jesus walked out of his grave three days later, spending the following 40 days with his disciples and gathering those who would soon build the Church.
Lots of things have happened from then to now. Lots of things have happened since you accepted that story above as the Truth of your own life. You’re busy. I know you are, because I am, too. You have loads of responsibilities. You serve at your church. You volunteer in your community. You work. You have a family. You have a social life.
Welcome to your mission field, my friend.
If you’re trying to convince yourself that there’s more work to do, more to learn, more training to partake in, more of the bible you have to read, stop.
Remind yourself of the simple gospel, of the relatively short story that changed your life forever and continues to do so every day. You don’t need any more than that. It was strong enough to transform you. It was strong enough to change the apostle Paul. It was strong enough to shake the entire earth.
It is strong enough to equip you with its power.
Don’t lose that child-like wonder at the story of our Savior. Don’t become desensitized to the truth and grace and love and power of the most urgent message. Don’t hold back parts of your life from being consumed by the blaze of the gospel.
Take it with you everywhere you go. Meditate on it daily, hourly. Give its free, life-changing gift every chance you get.
It’s scary, right? Every fear you have, every excuse you’re holding onto right now, they all exist in my mind, and sometimes I want to let them win because it’s easy.
But then I’m reminded of how deeply the message of Christ has altered my heart and I’m convinced of its truth all over again. You can’t keep that kind of joy, that wellspring of life to yourself.
Remind yourself to be in wonder of the gospel today and share that wonder with the next person you meet.