FRIDAY, JUNE 29
“and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Ephesians 6:19-20 ESV
GLADIATOR: PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL
According to author Chuck Colson, Telemachus was a monk who lived in the 4th century. He felt God saying to him, “Go to Rome.” He was in a cloistered monastery. He put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting and killing each other in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus.
He thought to himself, “Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?” He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, “Hail to Caesar, we die for Caesar” and he thought, “this isn’t right.” He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, held up his hands and said “In the name of Christ, forbear.”
The crowd protested and began to shout, “Run him through, Run him through.” A gladiator came over and hit him in the stomach with the back of his sword. It sent him sprawling in the sand. He got up and ran back and again said, “In the name of Christ, forbear.” The crowd continued to chant, “Run him through.” One gladiator came over and plunged his sword through the little monk’s stomach and he fell into the sand, which began to turn crimson with his blood. One last time he gasped out, “In the name of Christ forbear.” A hush came over the 80,000 people in the coliseum. Soon a man stood and left, then another and more, and within minutes all 80,000 had emptied out of the arena. It was the last known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome.
The good news that Jesus saves has been changing people’s lives for centuries but not without a cost. The “mystery of the gospel” that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6:19-20 was that Jesus would come live inside of us. The ultimate message and mission of every believer while here on earth is to share this good news. Paul asked that the church would pray for boldness to share this message.
The best hope for our society is the transforming power of Jesus Christ. This can only happen if we tell people how much God loves them and what Jesus did for them on the cross. Sharing the gospel starts with praying for opportunities and for the courage to share. As great as the Apostle Paul was, he obviously got anxious at times about sharing just like we do. So he asked for prayer. Ask God to give you boldness to share when the opportunity arises. Pray that our church would be faithful to share the good news of Jesus.
“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:27-29 ESV)