History is an unpleasant thing to remember. Most of the subject is filled with monstrous acts committed by mankind for a multitude of reasons. Throughout all of it though, you see people fighting for things that they believe to be important. Empires rise and fall on it, and usually, this belief is that they deserve something that the opposing nation or group doesn’t deserve.
God flipped that whole model with the gift of His son. All of a sudden, the only person who actually deserved everything, chose to give it all away. For the first time ever, people could find an identity that they did not have to be born with or to fight against impossible odds to win. People could just choose acceptance. Quickly, this radicalized the world and for good reason. The gospel revolutionizes not only our own lives, but the world around us, and history itself.
No one can deny the impact of Christ and the Church in the early world. A ragtag group of fishermen, tax collectors and other assorted nobodies became the leaders of a group that thrived under the persecution of the Roman Empire. Testimonies of lives being completely changed by the gospel were normal, and the Church quickly spread across the known world even while most of the people who called themselves members, were likely to be killed for doing so. Even the most devout atheist, cannot deny that there is no explanation for what happened outside of God planning the whole thing out. And things like that continued to happen throughout time. The gospel mattered to those who came before us.
Even now, the gospel is changing the way that nations operate. We can see the effect of the church in countries where Christianity is thriving. The Church grows the fastest when it is under persecution. Think of all the nations with extremist governments around the world today. They do well putting out rebellions as they arise. Yet nonetheless, there is no country that has ever managed to destroy the underground network of churches that share the gospel. In fact, contrary to all logic, the community of believers under persecution always grows as time goes on. The driving force behind this is the message that they carry. The realization that the gospel is not just important for determining eternal destination, although it does do that, the gospel transforms day to day life. The gospel is radical in the lives of those who risk their lives for it because it impacts every part of their lives.
Jesus was an actual man, just like you and me. He walked places and needed to eat and sleep. Jesus was also God, just like God the Father that we think of as almighty and untouchable, Jesus was both of these things for us. All of that power, He gave up so that He could serve us. He taught us how to serve others with our lives and He demonstrated this ultimately by dying on the cross for our sins. This means that sin is defeated, not only so that we can enter heaven one day, but so that we can live differently than the rest of the world. As Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:15
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”
Paul’s life was completely turned around by the gospel. The man who made it his mission to destroy the Church is the same one who eventually became It’s greatest missionary. This is the everyday power of the gospel. So often we walk around, acting as though we received the gospel the same way we receive a gift of shares in Blockbuster. Jesus chose the disciples so that they could learn how to live as He did. He could have just paid for our sins and announced it through the angels, but He didn’t. God wants us to understand that all the things that Jesus said about how we should live, are the best things for us. The gospel was important to those who came before us, the gospel is important for those around us, so why would we not care about it?