17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
1 Corinthians 1:17 (ESV)
I recall having some professors that used subject-specific, technical jargon on day one of class. They were going on about chirality and enantiomers, nucleophiles and redox reactions (looking at you, OChem!), leaving us to scribble down notes without much comprehension.
Yea, they sounded real impressive, but what benefit does that intelligence serve if I don’t leave the classroom with knowledge or understanding?
Paul wasn't like these professors.
His credentials were staggering (Phil. 3:4-6). His knowledge of God was remarkable (he wrote almost half of the New Testament). And he could definitely dole out some weighty theology, but he didn’t neglect the basics.
He sought to present the gospel clearly, not steeped with complicated terminology and caveats.
Though the Bible contains an endless wealth of knowledge (that will exalt God, humble self, and multiply joy), it all centers around the gospel of Jesus. No deeper revelation exists apart from a rock solid foundation in whom Jesus was (is), what He did on the cross and why that matters for us.
Permeated with sin, we dishonor and diminish God’s glory daily. Lacking the ability to repay this debt, we face eternity separated from Him.
But God loves us and sent His Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect life, suffered shame, ridicule and abandonment. He took upon Himself all our sins and paid that debt with His life on the cross.
He then rose three days later, signifying the acceptance of the sacrifice and securing final, ultimate victory for all who trust in Him.
The gospel of Jesus contains forgiveness, mercy, grace, joy, peace, rest, hope and life for those who embrace it, but we can’t embrace what we don’t hear.
We don’t need to master all the technical terms or have a certain pedigree to share this message. Its power unleashes when we remind ourselves of it, and then share it with others.
Simple, yet profound. Basic, yet life-transforming.
Reflect: When was the last time I preached the basics of the gospel to myself? How would I communicate the gospel of Jesus to someone who asked me what it was?