Jesus Christ died on the cross. Jesus Christ, who was and is both fully God and fully Man, died on the cross to take away the sins of the world. We have become so used to hearing it that for a lot of us the words have lost a lot of their meaning, their impact. They are words that no longer make us lose our breath for a moment, they are words which no longer make us cry tears of gratitude, joy and awe and they are words which no longer enflame us to change the world. Not in the way they did. Why? Because we are used to them, it happens to all of us. In fact the Gospel has been watered down by many to be just about a moment. Say you believe in God now and confess your sins and then you can go to heaven when you die. That’s it right? That’s the Gospel.
By no means. The Gospel cannot be contained to one moment or one act or one purpose because the Gospel is far too huge for that. The Gospel is our way into heaven yes but more than that the Gospel creates a way for us to enter into relationship with eternal God. To join in the perfect harmony enjoyed by father, son and spirit. The Gospel is the strong reassuring love of a father, the exciting, so close you can touch it love of a brother or friend and the inspiring and empowering love of a God who proclaims that no house of wood and gold can contain him, that no stone image will represent him but that he will dwell in and be made known through the hearts, minds and souls of his children. The Gospel allows us to know the unknowable, to touch the untouchable, to stand in the presence of the holy and most high God and say Abba Father.
Because the Gospel is the answer. Not an answer, not one answer, no it is the answer. God’s answer to everything. It is the answer to sin, to the question of our eternal destination yes but so much more as well. The Gospel was the answer for all the promises made to the Israelites, to their laws and their customs. The Gospel was the answer to the spiritual rule of Satan and the self proclaimed godly might of the Romans and their Emperor. The Gospel brings hope to the hopeless, brings light to those in darkness and strength to the weak.
The Gospel gives the bullied child the strength and courage to stand up to his oppressors, the Gospel knits the broken family back together, the Gospel digs wells for those in drought and finds bread for those in famine, the Gospel is a friendly face and a kind word to the lonely old man whom no-one knows and the convict whom no one wants to know, the Gospel takes the Prostitute off the street corner and sees her safely back home, the Gospel disarms and redeems the abusive husband and strengthens and cares for the abused wife, the Gospel wipes away the tears of children and the joins in when they laugh, the Gospel gives sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, the Gospel gives the HIV sufferer their dignity and their future back, the Gospel is a warm bed for the homeless and a light of hope for the poor. It transforms the murderous heart, it emboldens the fearful mind and it calms the enflamed body. It’s a shoulder to cry on, a shelter to hide in and a mighty sword for the fight. The Gospel rips the curtain in two and shatters the chains.
Why? Because the Gospel is the truth and the truth sets you free. If you fully grasp the truth of what Jesus accomplished on the cross you can’t help but change the world. The Gospel should enflame you. The Gospel should excite you to the very core because when all is said and done everything we do, everything we see, everything we think and all there has ever been, all there is now and all that is to come in all of creation finds its answer at the cross of Jesus Christ. Finds its answer in a servant King, the humble God. Finds its answer in a man giving his own life for those he loves, finds its answer in a Father sacrificing his son so others may live, finds its answer in the blood of an innocent man. In a crown of thorns. It is finished. It is finished. All of it. The Gospel has finished it all.
So let us not let these words lose their meaning. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of the power and the majesty and joyful tragedy of that fateful day 2000 odd years ago when Jesus Christ gave his all for us. Let us keep praying to God that he would remind us of it everyday, that everyday we would be struck with awe by what he has done for us. Let us pray to God that that most wonderful and glorious truth would light a fire in our hearts every single day. Then let us take that Gospel with us, and change the world.