BLOG & COFFEE
news, thoughts on life and theology
Is it possible to preach the Gospel without focusing on God’s love? I am sure many will say no and refer to John 3:16, but what does the Bible itself say?
God is a loving God, full of mercy and slow to anger (Psalm 145:8) so my wish is not to present Him as somebody else. God is the same as the Bible depicts Him, and the same is true about the Gospel, the message we are called to preach.
If I choose to modify the message in order to make it more receptive, I have to be aware that it is God’s own message that I allow myself to change. Unfortunately today the message which is often presented as the Gospel is very different from the message the first Christians preached and from what the Bible says directly about the Gospel. What did Jesus ask the disciples to preach? At the end of the Gospels we see that Jesus is preparing His disciples for the fact that He will leave them and just before His ascension we can read in the Gospel of Luke that He explains to His disciples what they should preach.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Some people are concerned that the rendering in the different gospels is not the same, but I do not think they are supposed to be the same; I think their purpose is to complement one another. Matthew focuses on how they should reach the world – by making disciples. Mark concentrates on the supernatural power they should get to do the task; it is the power to heal the sick, cast out demons and walk in supernatural protection. Luke focuses on the message they should preach, namely forgiveness of sins.
When Peter brings the Gospel to the heathens for the first time, we can read his direct rendering of what Jesus asked them to preach.
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.