Picture this: a room full of middle school boys. I know what you’re thinking…pretty scary! But it’s not. It is a place of surprising depth and revelation.
As we started our high school and middle school summer Bible studies this past Wednesday night, graciously hosted in homes by several families, we jumped right in where it matters with our middle school boys reading this scripture:
“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:14,15 (NASB)
After reading, we posed this question to these men of God in the making: “What is the gospel?” Following a period of silence where no one raised their hands to volunteer an answer, we posed the boys another question: “How many of you believe the gospel?” Every single one of them raised their hand. So we asked again: “If you all believe the gospel, can somebody please tell me what is the gospel?”
From there we did have a number of contributions ranging from “the gospel is that whenever you go through hard times God has got something better coming after that” to “the gospel is that Jesus died on the cross for our sin.” What became apparent is that very few, if any, of the boys really had a firm grasp on what the gospel really is and how it applies to their lives and the lives of others. That is a problem because the gospel is the central point of the Christian faith through which we attain forgiveness of sin, salvation, new life, a relationship with our Creator and the only hope any of us have to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. Before you respond internally to this, I want to turn the question to you, the reader: What is the Gospel?
Our boys have a challenge over the course of the next week to write out what the gospel is in the simplest form they can, using no Christian-ese language, so that anyone churched or completely un-churched, adult, child, and everything in between can understand. I invite you to respond to this blog with your most concise and clear explanation answering the question: What is the gospel? And if you don’t know, then please find out. This is a question of most crucial importance.