Quick – in just a few words – explain the essence of the Gospel. Ready, Set, Go! ……….. Are you done yet? It’s hard, isn’t it. There’s so much to say. Creation, fall, original sin, personal guilt, grace, mercy, Heaven, Hell, death, resurrection, virgin birth, Jesus, atonement, repentance, faith, prayer, forgiveness – the list goes on. How do you share the good news without droning on for hours?
The answer is to understand this: the essence of the Gospel is Jesus. After all the theology, all the personal stories, all the focus-tested words and prayers are done, it’s all about Him. The gospel has never been about what to do – that’s the world’s way. It’s never been about us (whew!) The gospel, the Good News, is Jesus. He is the giant in the room, the inescapable reality that changes everything.
Consider this description of Jesus: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (from the book of Colossians, found in the Bible).
This passage demolishes all the cute little descriptions of Jesus the world is fond of sharing – great teacher, committed radical, inspiring example. It brings us face to face with our creator and savior. It’s a great passage to memorize. It’s a great passage to pass along.
God sends us into the world to share the gospel. That’s another way of saying God sends us into the world to share Jesus. Once people come face to face with him, there’s no turning back.