the Gospel is Forever…
In our age there are many things that come and go. When I was in elementary school Yo-Yos and Bennie Babies were all the rage but now, they are out of style. This doesn’t only happen in the world of toys. We see this in religion a lot. We see cults and their leaders rise and fall and, the early church was no different.
In the book of Acts the Apostles preached the Gospel everywhere they went. Their preaching caused a huge stir in the communities they went to. The Jews especially were not receptive to the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In fact, the Gospel offended the Jews so much that they called for the Apostle’s deaths and, we see this in Acts 5: 33-42:
33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
We see the Gospel being preached and Jews getting upset constantly in Scripture. It is a theme that runs through the entire New Testament but, this story has a significant twist to it. In verse 34 we are introduced to a Pharisee named Gamaliel. The tone of the uproar seems to change because of his words. He speaks in verses 36-37 about people who have risen to some prominence by making grand claims and, when they died the movement they started ended. These are wise words and we should take note.
Gamaliel understood that movements not of God often would fizzle out when the leader died. He must have thought that this Jewish Messiah was a false teacher and, that Jesus’ message would cease to be relevant shortly after his death. The Jews didn’t expect the Gospel of Jesus’ would be relevant months after Jesus’ death but, nobody thought the Gospel would be around thousands of years after Jesus’ death.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a long-lasting truth that has been relevant throughout time. The Gospel has changed hearts for thousands of years and, the Good News will continue to do so. So, no matter what culture you live in, worldview you hold, or philosophical constructs you consider to be true, the Gospel can change you. Religions rise and fall but the Gospel of Christ is forever.
Thanks for reading.