This Is My Gospel

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2 Timothy 2:8 “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…”

As I read these words, I am struck by the little word “my.”  Paul doesn’t speak of “the” gospel here. He calls it “my” gospel. Advertisers do something similar. Certain commercials don’t promote merely McDonald’s. They call it “My McDonald’s.” If you buy books on the internet regularly, you don’t sign on to just “Amazon.com.” If you are a regular user, your screen will have “My Amazon.com.” Advertisers want you to feel a sense of partnership and ownership with them.

Paul’s association with the gospel runs much deeper than that. He is more than a consumer of the message. He is more than a partner in the work of spreading it to others. This gospel message is his life, his cause. He didn’t invent the message. He is not unique in preaching it. But this is the one thing in his life Paul would never let go. It is “My Gospel.”

What about us? Sometimes my life as a Christian becomes somewhat dry and joyless. I’m not very mindful of God’s love for me. I’m not very excited about telling others. We find ourselves in grave danger of becoming the church in Ephesus, to which Jesus once said, “You have forsaken your first love!”

The Apostle Paul has the cure for our lagging interest. “Remember Jesus Christ.” What do we remember about him? How about Easter and Christmas? Let’s take Christmas first. “Remember Jesus Christ…descended from David.” Jesus’ descent from David reminds us that our God keeps his promises. As a human father and husband, sometimes I forget my promises. Sometimes circumstances beyond my control change, and I have to take back my promises. Sometimes I’m just not very faithful, and I break my promises.

But we have a Father in heaven who never has. Almost a thousand years before Christ he promised David a descendant who would rule on his throne forever. The fulfillment was a long time in coming. But God is faithful, and Jesus Christ our Savior descended from David, just as God said he would. When my God makes any other promise, I can be sure he will keep it.

Then there is the Good Friday and Easter part of this gospel. “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead.” Paul and Timothy both knew the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection well. We do, too. Paul can mention it briefly here and expect his words have the full impact this gospel has on hearts and souls. Dear friends, Jesus died for you. It was a slow, torturous death that dragged on hour after hour. It embraced the full agony of hell. It spares us the same fate. It is impossible to imagine a greater sacrifice, a greater act of love than the one Jesus made to save us.

Great as this is, Paul doesn’t say, “Remember Jesus Christ, now dead.” He says, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead.” Jesus’ story is more than past history. It’s present reality. We don’t live and serve God all by ourselves. Jesus has risen and returned to heaven and rules all things to help us. The good news is that Jesus is alive and present now.

And because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, his gospel promises an eternal future, for ourselves as well as him. His gospel makes us part of a story with no last chapter, no final “The End.”

Remembering Jesus Christ–faithful, humble, accepting, self-sacrificing, forgiving, living, life-giving– this was Paul’s gospel. Can’t we each say, “This is my gospel,” too?

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