Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Don't Forget the "Punch Line"
The story is told of a preacher who attended a seminar with many well known motivational speakers. One of these speakers boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowd's attention, said, "The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!" The crowd was shocked!
He followed up by saying, "And that woman was my mother!" The crowd burst into laughter and he gave his speech which went over well.
Several weeks later, this minister who had attended the seminar decided to use that joke to introduce his sermon. As he shyly approached the pulpit one Sunday morning, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head, but it seemed a bit foggy to him. Getting to the microphone he said loudly, "The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!" His congregation sat shocked!
After standing there for almost 10 seconds trying to recall the second half of the joke, the preacher finally blurted out "...and for the life of me, I can't remember who she was!"
Remembering the "punch line" is important in sharing a joke. It's also important in relating the gospel message. We tell the story of Jesus coming to this earth and becoming a man. We tell the story of Jesus being crucified for our sins. We tell the story of Jesus being buried in a borrowed tomb. But, if that's all we remember, then we truly have no reason to rejoice. There's more to the story!
As Paul begins his letter to the Romans, he focuses on the “gospel of God”, but he makes it very clear from the outset that the gospel is not just that Jesus “was born of the seed of David according to the flesh”, but also that he was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:3-4)
The gospel, the "good news," is not only that Jesus died to offer us salvation from sin, but that he rose to give us hope of eternal life. Don't forget the "punch line"!