The events of the last three days must have been emotionally overwhelming for the disciples. Witnessing the arrest and crucifixion of their Lord, feeling hopeless and afraid at His death and then being filled with amazement and joy at His resurrection was a lot to take in. The culmination of it was now Jesus was there amongst them, walking them through the Scriptures and teaching them why it all had to happen. There was redemption for repentant sinners like themselves through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Not only that, through the resurrection, there was hope for men such as they who trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior. How blessed they were to have God open their eyes to the understanding of the gospel. Before Jesus ascended up to Heaven, He told the disciples to go out and proclaim this gospel message to all the earth.
They understood it and now they must proclaim it. Not understanding the gospel right can make us susceptible to all sorts of "gospels" that will lead us astray. Just today, I was reminded of three such false gospels: The prosperity "gospel," the dream-destiny "gospel" and the anything-goes "gospel," otherwise known as Post-Modernism. According to what is recorded in Scripture, the disciples were not sent out into the world with a vision to make sure we are all living our best life now by following the smartest financial principles or carefully managing our lives so our dreams can come true. Yet, every day I see evidences that many professing Christians believe this should be their purpose. The disciples certainly did not go out into the world side-stepping the truth so as not to offend other beliefs. Yet, every day I see evidences of Christian people coming together at the expense of biblical truth for the sake of unity. In today's world, many of us have twisted the purpose of Jesus Christ into something that would be unrecognizable to His disciples.
This is the gospel message the disciples proclaimed to the world:
For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him! (Romans 5:7-9)
The gospel offends. Hard truth says, "Jesus's work on the cross is the only work that will grant us eternal salvation." It says, "We are all wretched and born into sin. Not one of us is good." It says, "Our sins have stirred up the wrath of God and we all deserve Hell." The gospel says, "We are not able to save ourselves. We need a Savior." The message of the gospel is not fluffy like our favorite stuffy. The message of the gospel first brings us to our knees in despair and then it lifts us to our feet in joy when God gives us saving faith. We realize that our sin will condemn us, but that Jesus will save us.
This gospel is why the disciples did not live in castles nor were they driven around in royal chariots. The gospel is why the disciples did not have amazing careers. It is why they did not have anything worth boasting about. It is why they were disdained by many. The gospel is why the disciples lived difficult, uncomfortable lives and why they didn't find favor with the rich and powerful but were instead unjustly persecuted- why most of them were arrested and killed. The disciples told the hard truth and some who heard it were offended. The faithful disciples followed Jesus to the cross forsaking their lives for the sake of proclaiming the gospel message so that many who heard it could be saved.
Where do you stand when it comes to the truth of the gospel? Does it bring you joy knowing God did this for you? If you feel offense, pray that God would prepare your heart for His hard truth and teach you to understand like Jesus taught the disciples to understand. I'm praying that those who read who did not understand the gospel will come to know the saving truth.