By J.A. Medders
Basketball is a beautiful game. The flow, the rhythm, the athleticism, the speed. Dr. James Naismith created a spectacle that still dazzles millions of people every year. While it’s been improved over time (the addition of the three-point shot, for example), the game originated with Dr. Naismith, a physical education teacher, his student athletes, and a peach basket hanging off a gymnasium balcony. It’s amazing what can come from human ingenuity; human beings can be quite clever.
But no human came up with the gospel. It’s too beautiful. It’s too “other than us” for one of our kind to have dreamed up the drama and goodness of redemption. The gospel came to us from another dimension, from heaven to earth. Holy became human; the Son of God became man. Learning to live out the gospel is to believe it. To trust it.
Paul didn’t create this message to the church. He received it from God and then went on mission with Him to spread it all over the Roman world. And this is our task, too: to believe in the gospel—in Jesus, the one God sent to us (John 6:29)—and to share the good news with others, spreading its message far and wide beyond us. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
While false teachers pushed back against Paul’s message and his authenticity to even preach the gospel, Scripture shows us that he remains committed to sharing his testimony. Paul begins by reminding us that he isn’t an ordinary teacher; he’s a full-blooded apostle. Not ordained by men, not trained in some weekend program in a shopping mall—the risen Christ gave Paul this ministry. And his authority surpasses anyone who would disagree with him. Paul establishes his apostleship, not to puff out his chest, but to wrap his arms around us, as to say, “I’m here to help. I know what I’m talking about. Will you trust me?” A former Pharisee before Jesus flipped his world upside down in the very best way, Paul knows the power of Christ and is not ashamed of the gospel.
How has Jesus flipped your world around? Don’t ever be ashamed of your story. Jesus isn’t. He wrote it. He’s using it. Your personal narrative of new life doesn’t have a human origin either—it’s all grace. Praise God for it! Your origin story doesn’t even begin with you. Your story begins with the God of all grace, and a book filled with the names of those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Luke 10:20; Revelation 3:5). Rejoice, brother. Your life has been touched by God Himself.
Written by J.A. Medders