THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL
Over the past few years (like 17), my students and a few of their leaders head to Mexico over Christmas Break to share Jesus in a Mexican community through a local church. When I go, I help lead or teach a women’s Bible Study. As I work with students in the States, I challenge myself by working with women there. A few years ago, I came across this verse in my lesson preparation.
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Eph. 6:19-20
Have you ever thought of the gospel as a mystery? Easter doesn’t seem so mysterious. Jesus died. Jesus rose. That’s not a mystery, its truth. Yet I prayed that God would give me the words and that I would speak fearlessly of his gospel.
When we arrived at the park in Mexicali, on New Year’s Day that year, it was empty. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t able to do any ministry on the first day because no one was in the park. The students headed into the community inviting families to the park for our fun festival that night. Quite a few moms came bringing their children for the games and prizes. We invited to them to come the next day.
When we arrived on day two, there were only a few people there. Yet, as we pulled out our ministry things, the children and ladies came. As we sat down to do the craft together, the picnic table was full. How does that work?
On day three, the ladies were there waiting. As we gathered for the lesson, there wasn’t enough room for them all to sit. Now, it wasn’t that my lessons were so amazing – these ladies were hungry. Hungry for community, hungry for connection, and hungry for Jesus.
By the fourth day, they were all there waiting for us. The table was full before we even got to it. The lesson was on community. As I went through the scripture, one of the Mexican women stopped me. She said to all the ladies (in Spanish of course), “Do you want to be a part of the community she is speaking of? Do you want to know Jesus?” Then she proceeded to ask each woman individually if they wanted Jesus and an amazing thing happened. The women were answering yes, they wanted to know Jesus. They wanted to belong to him.
As I watched them pray together, I didn’t understand a word they said. I didn’t have to. Clearly, Jesus was there.
How does that work? It wasn’t a fantastic lesson. I don’t speak Spanish. We’re sitting at a windy picnic table, in a park, in the middle of the day and it happened. The mystery. I knew it had nothing to do with me. It’s enough to blow you away. How does God do that?
Have you ever watched as a heart is touched by God? The wonder of a life changed – that’s the mystery.
Over and over again, I witnessed the mystery as students and adults shared their stories fearlessly in a public park. It was freezing as the wind blew, dogs barked, and music played. There were no microphones or walls. Yet, God did his mysterious work in the hearts of that small community.
That’s the mystery of Easter.
May we never tire of the mystery of a life changed.
May we never feel we have to solve it.
May it always be a source of wonder.
May we declare it fearlessly.
Pray for us, that whenever we open our mouths, words may be given us so that we will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…pray that we may declare it fearlessly, as we should. Eph. 6:19-20(words changed).