“Simplicity of the Gospel”

By Akin Ojumu

Drama has come to characterize the preaching of the message of the Cross. In order to keep them coming, ministers of the Gospel treat their audience to Hollywood performances worthy of the Oscars. 

Wild props are deployed, and weird costumes employed, for the purpose of creating blockbuster shows. Structure, setting, theme, voice, and tone all play crucial roles in keeping the attention-deficit audiences interested. If any of these elements happen to slip, the moviegoers’ – oops, I mean churchgoers’ – attention will falter. 

And since the audiences tend to be seated far away from the stage, the actors – I mean the pastors – exaggerate their facial expressions and gestures so that every member of the audience can follow the show.

Remarkably, Christianity wasn’t always like this. The Lord Jesus was not a hysterical exhibitionist. When the twelve Apostles went about the harrowing task of spreading the Gospel from Jerusalem to Judea, they didn’t put on a show for captive audiences. As the early Church fathers took the baton of evangelizing Samaria and the utmost part of the earth, they did so in great urgency and much soberness.

When Nicodemus came to Jesus late at night, the Savior told him in simple terms, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 

In the healing of the blind man by the Pool at Siloam, the Healer simply spat on the ground, made mud of spittle, applied it to the guy's eyes and told him to, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam.”

The moment the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of His garment, the awesome power of God, like jolt of electricity, coursed through her poisoned veins healing all her infirmities. 

And for the man full of leprosy that asked him, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” the King of kings reached out His hand and touched him saying, “I will, be thou clean.” The leprosy left him just like that.

Not once was it recorded that the Lion of the tribe of Judah resorted to gimmicks to win sinners. The Great High Priest did not have to "get the congregation high in the spirit" with gibberish speaking and stirring music before he could heal the man with palsy who was let down through the rooftop. When the One who set free saw their faith, He told the poor man, ‘"Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” Immediately, the Bible says, 'he arose and departed to his house.’

To dead Lazarus, He said, “Lazarus come forth.” And the man who had been dead for four days came out from the tomb, bound hand and foot in grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

There was no fanfare. No dramatization for full effects. No made for TV gymnastics. The Rock of our salvation had no need for all of the theatrics or showmanship. He was a man endued with power, for the Holy Spirit dwells in Him mightily.

Lofty words, useless sacraments, and man-made traditions won't get us any closer to the throne of grace. The revealing and manifestation of the sons of God does not require Hollywood produced church programs.

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

Love without dissimulation, faith the size of a mustard seed, and a tireless pursuit of God and His righteousness, is all the Light of the world requires of us in order to fill the earth with the Glory of God.

This commentary is from the archives. The original version was first published on my now defunct blog, AFTRES – African Treasures, on Sunday, August 3, 2008.


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