Over the last few days, we have been looking at the Gospel trying to better understand its many dimensions. This series of reflections will not be able to identify them all. That is not our goal. The goal is that by looking at the aspects of the Gospel identified, we might better appreciate what God has done and continues to sustain by his grace and power.
Today’s theme is similar to the one we shared yesterday–The Gospel Effectiveness. However, while yesterday we sought to highlight God’s power to deliver on the Gospel message, today will be an exploration of God’s faithfulness to do so.
If I were to summarize what I mean it would be this: The Gospel’s Promise is that God can save. Not in the sense of ability as we discussed yesterday. But rather in the sense of willingness. God will deliver on his promise to save because God can.
An excellent example of this reality can be found in an exchange Jesus had with a man suffering from leprosy. We find the story in the opening verses of Matthew 8.1
1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.New King James Version
This interaction between Jesus and the leper has always been a powerful reminder of God’s mercy. The telling in Mark offers us the added motivation of Jesus. “Then Jesus, moved with compassion…” (Mark 1:41a).
When Jesus looked at the situation of the man, when Jesus considered the plea he made, we are told by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was moved with a tender affection. Jesus wanted to do something for this man.
In Jesus, we see the fullness of God walking on the earth. Jesus’s life is the public and visible expression of God (Colossians 1:15-20). And in Jesus, we see God’s willingness to intervene on full display.
God among us in the person and work of Jesus is the Gospel’s promise. This is the promise not only enacted and embodied, but it is also the promise fulfilled.
- The Story is also found in Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-16 [↩]