“In a private meeting with the leaders I explained the gospel message that I preach to the Gentiles”.
Gal 2:2 GNB
There are as many ways to present the gospel to other people as there are people to present it. Few things lend themselves to colouring by the personality of the speaker as the preaching of the Christian gospel. At times the personality of the speaker almost crowds out the serious message of the gospel.
Given the task of going to the Gentiles, Paul had to work out how he would shape the message in such a way that the Gentiles would latch on to it. In presenting it to Jews, the message would no doubt be related to the Old Testament (“Christ is the fulfilment of the great prophecies, the Messiah foretold from of old”). That would not be likely to wash with Gentiles. So he had to work out something that he could pass on and that the rest of the church could see was an authentic Christian message. One of themes he followed was the claim that in Jesus Christ God had become man – a man. Moreover he had come in the form of a servant or slave. That was a stupendous and daring thought which Paul worked out in his letter to the Philippians (Phil 2:5-11). Other religions had the concept of a saviour, and, knowing that the Gentiles would be familiar with it, Paul used this idea extensively as well.
Christian disciples should understand the roots of Paul’s gospel. His innovative thinking was sound, effective and appealing. Try to imagine ways – preferably in picture-words – that Jesus Christ could be offered to modern, city people today. Maybe images from Information Technology, space travel or sport might speak of Christ today?
Lord, help us to speak effectively to modern people.