The Demanding Privilege of Making Known the Mystery of the Gospel
Many Christians are making a big mistake. They see Christ as a means to an end when He is actually the be all and end all of their existence. They see faith in Christ as the way to a happy life, the path to earthly success or comfort, or the solution to their present problems. In Paul’s case, the high calling that he received turned out to be a very demanding privilege.
The Apostle Paul is seriously upset. Churches in the Roman province of Galatia that he had worked very hard and even risked his life to plant were now falling for a false gospel – one that required them to keep Jewish customs and rituals. He is writing to them to set the record straight. They need to stick to the truth of the gospel and not let anything, not even these seemingly biblical elements, cause them to depart from it, add to it, or modify it in any way.
This Chapter is easily one of the most memorable in the Bible. It starts with a private conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. Then we’ll hear about Jesus from John the Baptist. Important verses in this chapter are the well-known John 3:16, which explains the gospel in one verse, and John 3:30, which summarizes discipleship in one verse: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Today we’ll see Jesus before Pilate, then Herod, then before Pilate again. We’ll see Him led to Golgotha and crucified. We’ll see Him die and be buried.
He endured all of this “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2) – the salvation of our souls. We can now “rejoice in God through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:11) “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us…” (1 John 3:16)