Talking About Jesus! by: Dan Gulley, Smithville, TN
A six-year-old boy stirred his parents interest on the way home after church one Sunday. The child said, “My Sunday school teacher must be Jesus’ grandmother.” When they asked why, he replied, “Because she talks about Him all the time.” As my wife and I prayerfully and joyfully await the arrival of our first grandchild, I am being told by veteran grandparents that “there’s nothing like it” and, “You’re going to love it!” I already know grandparents love to talk about their grandchildren! They are extremely evangelistic about them. They will talk to you about a grandchild as long as you will listen, and sometimes after you’ve already quit listening! I’m already talking about my first one, telling everybody about his arrival and his name, and he’s still in the process of getting here! Anyway, the subject of this little piece is not grandchildren or the grandparents who talk about them. My subject is Jesus, and how the apostle Paul would not stop talking about Him! Paul was all in all the time, when it came to preaching Christ. His sermons and letters to congregations are saturated with teaching about Jesus Christ. He was, as we sometimes say, “bent” on preaching Jesus. To use his words in 1 Corinthians 1:2, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” In 2 Corinthians 4:5 Paul wrote, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.” Acts 26 records the sermon Paul preached to King Agrippa. The centerpiece of that sermon is found in verse 23 where Paul proclaimed to the king that Christ had suffered and risen from the dead. Near the end of that sermon, the powerful king told Paul in verse 28, “You almost persuade me to be a Christian.” In Romans 16:25 Paul asserted that God is “able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Paul’s gospel in the sense Christ committed to him the task of taking the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles).
Then there is this statement in Paul’s writings at Colossians 1:27b-28 – “… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” This wasn’t a part-time or past-time activity for Paul, or some- thing he did for 30 minutes on Sunday mornings. Because he was convinced Christ alone was every person’s “hope of glory,” Paul gave himself completely to the task of preaching Jesus. Verse 29 makes clear his intentional goal and unceasing aim is to preach Christ – “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” What came out of his mouth was a result of a work he credits God was doing in his heart. When Paul opened his mouth, Jesus and the gospel spilled out because that’s what Paul was full of! In Colossians 3:4 he refers to Christ as “our life.” Paul filled Colossians with Christ! “Jesus” occurs 5 times in chapter 1 plus two more in the book (total 7 times). “Christ” occurs 9 times each in chapters 1 and 2, eight in chapter 3, plus two more in chapter 4 (total 28 times). “Lord” occurs 13 times in the book. Combine these references to Jesus and the grand total is 48 times, in a total of 98 verses in the letter. Wow! – on average Paul made a reference to Christ in every other verse! According to tradition, Paul did finally quit preaching Jesus – when they cut his head off outside Rome about 68 A. D. Everybody needs Jesus and the hope He alone gives. God bless us to talk about Him to everybody we can anytime we can!