The Spread Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ

It is thrilling to read about the spread of the gospel in the book of Acts. The book begins with a small group of disciples in the city of Jerusalem and it ends with a countless number of disciples living throughout several continents. It is both remarkable and exciting to read about how those events took place. The spread of the gospel, however, should not be a cause of surprise to us. Luke foreshadowed the spread of the gospel early on in the book of Acts by recording a conversation that Jesus had with his disciples. Jesus told them that they would be his witnesses“in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Readers of the book of Acts expect the gospel to be spread.
Two key concepts concerning the gospel are emphasized throughout the early chapters of the book of Acts. The first concept that is emphasized is the fact that the gospel is all about Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter made that clear in the opening words of the first gospel sermon. He said, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth…” (Acts 2:22). Peter would also speak of God’s “servant Jesus”and “Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (Acts 3:13; 4:10). Peter affirmed that Jesus was a man who was attested by God with mighty works that God did through him (cf. Acts 2:22). He also spoke of how Jesus went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil (cf. Acts 10:38). The gospel message also included what happened to Jesus of Nazareth. He was “delivered up” and“crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). Jesus’ death was an essential part of the message that was spread by the disciples. However, death was not how the message about Jesus ended. Peter said, “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24). The message of the resurrection accompanied the disciples as they spoke about Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Acts 2:32; 3:15; 4:10). Jesus was at the center of the message they proclaimed.
Luke also emphasized throughout Acts that spreading the gospel was important to the disciples. They were under great pressure from their Jewish brethren to stop speaking about Jesus. What did they do? Luke wrote, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42). The apostles even recognized that other legitimate activities could prevent the gospel from being spread (cf. Acts 6:1-3). They wanted to make sure that they were devoted to the ministry of the word (cf. Acts 6:4). Persecution did stop the disciples from spreading the word. Those who were scattered because of persecution simply went about preaching the word (cf. Acts 8:4). The did so because the gospel was important to them.
Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others should be important to us. The good news cannot be spread when we are silent. What are you doing to spread the good news about Jesus Christ? Jay Taylor